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Marad: Muslim families face rehabilitation problems
George Iype in Kochi | July 01, 2003 17:50 IST
Two months after one of the worst communal killings in northern Kerala's Marad village, the rehabilitation of many Muslim families who had fled the coastal area continues to be a major political problem for the A K Antony government.
Nearly 400 families had to flee Marad after the killing of nine people in the village on May 2.
While the police have arrested most of the accused in the killing, and the charge sheets against them are getting prepared, the rehabilitation of the families has led to stiff resistance from local Hindu groups.
The Araya Samaja, a local Hindu community group, has come out in the open against rehabilitating the Muslim families in Marad.
The Samaja activists allege that it was some of the Muslim families that harboured the perpetrators of the Marad killings. Forced by the stiff opposition from the Samaja activists, the government had to move back the two families from Marad.
Police investigations indicate the massacre was the handiwork by the relatives of Muslims, who were killed in the same village last year.
The ruling Congress leaders allege the Bharatiya Janata Party has unleashed anti-minority and communal propaganda in Marad to step up disharmony in the coastal village.
According to K Muraleedharan, president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, the BJP is trying to communalise the Marad killings. "It has become very clear that the BJP and its splinter organisations in Kerala are not interested in restoring peace and harmony in Marad. It is a shame that the BJP wants to perpetuate communal politics in Kerala," Muraleedharan told rediff.com.
He said for peace to be restored in Marad, all political parties have to help the government to bring back the families who had fled the village. "But how can the rehabilitation of families take place when outfits like the Araya Samaja are opposing it?" the KPCC president asked.
Muraleedharan accused the BJP leaders of 'playing communal politics' by creating an impression that the Marad issue is a problem between the Hindus and Muslims.
The opposition parties have been taking up the Marad issue in the Kerala assembly continuously, protesting against what they called Antony government's lapse in rehabilitating the families displaced by the Marad killings.
Antony admitted in the assembly on Monday that the government efforts to bring back those who had left the village has not succeeded due to stiff resistance from the Araya Samaja activists.
But the continuing criticism has forced Antony to call an all-party meeting to discuss the rehabilitation of the Marad families on July 5.
But it is not yet known whether the BJP and groups like the Araya Samaja would attend the all-party meeting.
More reports from Kerala