KERALA

`Rs. 10-lakh relief to Marad victims on NHRC intervention'

NEW Delhi DEC. 24. The Kerala Government, following intervention by the National Human Rights Commission, has paid a compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs each to the next of kin of the deceased Hindu fishermen who had been allegedly killed by a gang of Muslim terrorists on the Marad beach, Kozhikode, on May 2. Eight persons were killed in this communal violence that rocked the State.

A compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs each has been given to the injured and a challan against the culprits filed in the court, the State Government has informed the Commission.

T. Suresh, Secretary, Marad Aryasamajam, had sent a complaint to the Commission alleging that Muslim terrorists armed with deadly weapons and explosives attacked Hindu fishermen, as a result of which eight people died and 16 others, including one woman, sustained injuries. Acting on this complaint, the Commission sought a factual report from the State Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police.

In response to the notice on the complaint, the DGP informed the Commission that the investigation of the cases relating to the incident was entrusted to CBCID. The inquiry was supervised by an officer of the rank of Inspector General of Police and the charge-sheet had been filed.

The DGP also informed the Commission that the Kerala High Court had looked into the need for handing over the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation but had allowed the Kerala Police to complete the inquiry.

Accordingly, the police had wrapped up the probe into the Marad carnage and concluded that it was a `revenge killing', notwithstanding the claims made by several others, including Union Ministers, on the massacre, seen as the biggest scar on the State's claim to communal amity.

The special investigation team of the Crime Branch denied involvement of any outside agencies in the incident. Listing 150 people, mostly hailing from the violence-hit area, as the accused, the Crime Branch had arrived at the conclusion that it was meticulously planned and carried out by the kin of the victims, killed in a similar communal conflagration in January 2002.

On October 18, the DGP had informed the Commission that the case had been committed to Sessions Court in Kozhikode but the trial has not yet commenced.

The Principal Secretary to the Government in his report on October 21 had conveyed to the Commission that the Government had decided to institute a judicial inquiry into the incidents.

Subsequently, the Government convened an all-party meeting and there was a consensus to entrust the investigation to the CBI; Rs. 10 lakhs each would be given as compensation to the next of kin of those killed in the incidents; Rs. 5 lakhs relief to be given to the seriously injured and Rs. 3 lakhs to the other injured and one each of the dependents of those killed would be given job.

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