The Marad massacre occurred in May 2003 at Marad beach, a slum area in Kozhikode city, Kerala.
The incident was the result of communal tension between the Hindu and Muslim communities in the area, which had a long history of clashes.
The massacre was allegedly pre-planned by members of Islamist and Leftist organizations, including the CPI(M), Popular Front of India, and the Indian Union Muslim League, and led to the death of eight innocent Hindu fishermen.
Minor issue of consuming water from public tap
The riots followed clashes that occurred in January 2003 over a minor issue of consuming water from a public tap. According to the inquiry report, members of the Islamist and Leftist organizations planned the attack at various locations, including the local Juma Masjid in Marad, a year before the incident took place. The explosives and weapons were stored in the Masjid premises until the time of the attack.
On May 3, 2003, a group of 90 people armed with choppers, knives, guns, and bombs, assembled at Marad beach and hurled explosives at eight unsuspecting Hindu fishermen, killing them. The attackers then fled to the local Juma Masjid, where they were surrounded by Muslim women, creating a human chain or barricade, obstructing the police from entering the premises.
After a struggle, the police managed to enter the premises and arrest the attackers. They confiscated 90 country bombs, 40 knives, and other firearms from the mosque. 69 of the attackers were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of eight Hindu fishermen.
RSS, BJP blamed
During the inquiry, representatives of the Indian Union Muslim League claimed that the attack was retaliation for the murder of a popular Muslim figure named Aboobakar, who was killed in an altercation with local Hindus. The representatives also tried to blame the RSS and BJP for the incident. However, the commission dismissed these claims and held members of Islamist and Leftist organizations responsible for the massacre.
Concerns about Madrasa education system
The incident highlighted the deep nexus between Leftists and Islamists and the real intentions of the two groups. It also raised concerns about the Madrasa education system, which some representatives of Hindu organizations blamed for promoting hatred and contributing to religious clashes. However, the commission did not investigate these claims.
Despite the magnitude of the incident, it is seldom talked about by mainstream media outlets, unlike the Gujarat riots that occurred a year earlier. The Marad massacre is a stark reminder of the communal tensions that continue to exist in certain parts of India and the need for a concerted effort to address them.