The Marad massacre that shook the country in 2003 is unspoken of 17 years later, even though the riots in Gujarat a year before this incident is still talked about by the media. This massacre led to the death of 8 innocent Hindu fishermen by activists of Leftist and Islamist organisations such as CPI(M), Popular Front of India and Indian Union Muslim league.
Marad beach is a slum area located in the Kozhikode city of Kerala. It has a long history of communal tension between Hindus and Muslims, with local Muslim organisations often being the reason behind most clashes.
The massacre that happened on the Marad beach in May 2003 have their roots in the events of January of the same year, where clashes took place between the two communities over a trivial issue of consuming water from the public tap. What followed for the remaining part of the year was a pre-planned conspiracy by Islamic fundamentalist organisations such as PFI, PDP and IUML.
The pre-planning and ruthlessness of the riots by the local Muslim population shocked the country, due to which a special commission was formed to look into the riots with Justice Thomas P Joseph heading the committee.
According to the inquiry by the commission, members of Islamist and Leftist organisations had planned the attack in various parts of the city, including the local Juma Masjid in Marad itself. The time and date for the attack was planned a year before the incident took place, the explosives and weapons were stored in the Masjid premises till the time of attack.
“The C.B.C.I.D. after investigation, came to the conclusion that the accused, in order to avenge the killing of the members of the Muslim Community on 3/4-1-2002 entered into criminal conspiracy between May, 2002 and 2-5-2003 at various places including the Juma Masjid Mosque, Marad, made and stored in the Juma Masjid Mosque premises weapons like country bombs, petrol bombs, flambeau, swords, choppers, spears, iron pipes etc., attacked the eight persons referred above and other persons belonging to the Hindu community…” the inquiry report states (Pg 6 of the inquiry report).
In the evening of 3rd May 2020, 90 members of Muslim fundamentalist organisations and CPI(M) assembled at Marad beach armed with choppers, knives, guns and bombs. The attackers hurled explosives at 8 unsuspecting Hindu fishermen who had an unfortunate demise due to the incident.
Several attackers then proceeded to flee to the local Juma Masjid, where they hid with blood-stained clothes on and weapons with them. The local Muslim women surrounded the mosque, creating a human chain or barricade, obstructing the police personnel from entering the masjid premises.
After altercations with the Muslim women, the officers managed to force their way into the premises and nabbed the attackers. From the mosque, 90 country bombs, 40 knives and other firearms were confiscated by the officers. The rioters were thereby arrested and 69 of them were given life imprisonment for the murder of 8 Hindu fishermen.
In the inquiry, representatives of the IUML were summoned. According to the representatives, the massacre of Hindus in Marad was a ‘retaliation’ to the murder of a popular Muslim figure named Aboobakar, who was killed in an altercation with local Hindus. The Muslim League tried to water down the intensity of the inquiry, by claiming that the massacre of 8 innocent Hindu fishermen was merely a way to ‘avenge’ the death of Aboobakar. The IUML shamelessly tried to put the blame on RSS and BJP, even though all of the deceased were Hindus except for one assailant who succumbed to accidental injuries by his co-assailants. (Pg 10).
The representatives of Hindu organisations (named ‘party A’) alleged that the Madrasa education system is the main reason behind the riots, and claimed that the hate imparted in Madrasas is the reason behind this by-product of religious clashes, often initiated by Muslims. However, the commission did not take these claims seriously despite it being a genuine concern, and dismissed the claims without forming an enquiry into this claim.
During questioning by the police, the assailants confessed that the attack was to take revenge against the local Hindu population, and was planned with the backing of local Muslim organisations.
This incident showed the deep nexus of Leftists and Islamists, and the real intentions of the two. Both of these forces co-operated in executing a well-planned massacre of Hindu fishermen, and the fact that no mainstream media outlet speaks of this massacre is concerning, to say the least.
The rioters were sentenced to life-imprisonment on 15th January 2009 by a local session’s court bench in Kozhikode.
*All page numbers indicate the page referred to from the Inquiry report of the Justice Thomas P Joseph commission