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Ready to probe Kerala's infamous Marad communal riots: CBI

  • Five killed in the first riot which took place in January 2002 at the coastal village of Marad in Kozhikode.
  • Another riot broke out on 2 May 2003 in which nine fishermen got killed
  • The judicial commission that looked into the riots had reportedly found terrorist links and external funding behind the riots. 
  • The state government refused to accept the recommendations of the report and failed to implement its suggestions
CBI to investigate Marad Massacre
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In a decision that will have far-reaching political implications, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has expressed its readiness to take up the probe into the conspiracy behind the Marad riot of May 2003 in which nine men got killed in Kozhikode. Earlier, the central agency had refused to take up the investigation.


 The affidavit submitted before the Kerala High Court, CBI Standing Counsel, stated that the agency was ready to investigate the conspiracy and potential threat posed to the national sovereignty by the Marad riot on 2 May 2003. The CBI was responding to a petition demanding CBI probe into the conspiracy angle and the alleged terror links behind the riot.


In an affidavit, Crime Branch former superintendent C M Pradeep Kumar, who was also the investigating officer in charge of the Marad riot, had stated that the massacre was part of a   high level conspiracy in which terrorist outfits were involved. He also alleged that the government created   impediments in the probe as was not keen to carry it forward. IG Mahesh Kumar Singla, who probed the incident after him did not inquire about the funding and terrorist links of those involved, Kumar said. He also blamed the BJP state leadership for subverting a CBI probe in the case.


Marad riots- a blot on Kerala

  • First Marad riot: 3, 4 January 2002
  • Five persons of two communities lost lives.
  • On 2 May 2003, nine fishermen got killed at Marad.
  • Kerala government shelved the judicial commission report into the riots.


 The first riot at the coastal village of Marad in Kozhikode killed five persons of two communities lost lives forcing several families to flee the area. The riot sent shockwaves across the state that used to boast of its unique history of communal harmony. When everything was limping back to normalcy at Marad, when a group of assailants unleashed violence in the village and killed nine fishermen on 2 May 2003.


  The BJP and Sangh Parivar alleged that the Muslim fundamentalists were experimenting Kashmir model ethnic cleansing in Kerala. Pradeep Kumar, who probed the second incident suspected high level conspiracy behind the attacks and that weapons had been acquired for the massacre even before the first riot. 

CBI to investigate Marad Massacre The funeral procession of the victims of second Marad riots

After persistent demands for a judicial enquiry, the then Congress-led government in Kerala appointed Justice Thomas P Joseph as the Commission to inquire about the riots. In its report submitted on February 2006, the commission recommended the formation of a multi-agency team comprising officers of Central Intelligence Bureau, the CBI and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to investigate the larger conspiracy, funding and terrorist links behind the second Marad riot in May 2003. 

The judicial commission accused the then district collector T O Sooraj and Inspector General of Police Mahesh Kumar Singla of official apathy and lack of prompt initiative to quell the communal tension. The commission also found that some leaders of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and National Development Front (NDF) were aware of the conspiracy. 

Former Defense Minister A K Antony, who was the Chief Minister of Kerala then, refused to accept the findings of the commission. Even the successive LDF government did not accept the recommendations of the report and failed to implement its recommendations. Though the VS Achuthanandan government was in favour of a CBI probe, the UPA government at the centre during that period did not favour that. 

The BJP had alleged that both the LDF and the UDF scuttled the case to protect their people involved in the incident.  Welcoming the CBI decision, BJP leader K Surendran said that his party has been demanding a CBI probe for the past 13 years. Both the UDF and the LDF subverted the probe. Now, we are not for a controversy over it. Let the investigation complete its full course, he added. 

Indain Union Muslim League leader PK Kunjalikkutty also welcomed the CBI decision and hoped that the truth would prevail.


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