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Marad case: Kummanam refutes Antony's statement

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, APRIL 24. The Hindu Aikya Vedi State general secretary, Kummanam Rajasekharan, has refuted the Chief Minister, A.K. Antony's statement that the Advocate General's report on ordering a CBI probe into the Marad incident was given to Hindu organisations.

In a statement here today, Mr. Rajasekharan said that the Chief Minister had not yet informed the Hindu organisations of any follow-up action after the agreement was signed six months back. He accused the Chief Minister of evading even the enquiries made by the Gandhi Peace Foundation chairman, P. Gopinathan Nair, who had mediated during the talks.

No decision was taken during the talks that legal advice should be sought from the Advocate General (AG) alone, Mr. Rajasekharan said. He pointed out that the Hindu organisations had already given the legal opinion from many senior lawyers showing that there was no obstacle for ordering a CBI probe.

Mr. Rajasekharan accused the Chief Minister of deceiving the Hindu community.

`CM eyeing minority vote bank'

Meanwhile, the BJP State general secretary, P.P. Mukundan, has alleged that Mr. Antony is playing "minority vote bank politics'' on the eve of elections.

Addressing a press conference in Thiruvalla today, Mr. Mukundan alleged that the Chief Minister was making a frantic, but futile attempt to win over the Muslim psyche by withdrawing his earlier commitment to order a CBI inquiry.

The BJP leader said that the minorities should be cautious against the machinations of the Congress and not fall in the "vote bank trap'' laid by the Chief Minister.

Mr. Mukundan said that the Chief Minister should clarify as to why there was such a turn-around of his agreement with the leaders of various Hindu organisations and the Marad Araya Samajam regarding the CBI probe. Mr. Antony was trying to whip up Muslim sentiments against the BJP by trying to brand the BJP as `anti-minority'. However, the minorities in the State were wise enough to realise Mr. Antony's "new-found affection" towards them on the eve of elections, he alleged. The minorities were safe under the BJP rule, he added.

Betrayal alleged

The State unit of the BJP has expressed its protest over the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony's remark that the Government would not ask the CBI to probe the Marad case.

In a press release here today, the BJP's State general secretary, P. K. Krishnadas, described the Chief Minister's announcement as a `betrayal'. He said that this was against the agreement reached upon between the Government and the representatives of Hindu and Muslim organisations.

Mr. Krishnadas said that the Chief Minister had, at a meeting with the organisations, promised to refer the case to the CBI. The conditions of the agreement were accepted by the council of Ministers also, he said.

"There is no mention in the agreement (signed by the involved parties) about the issue being referred to the AG. What was agreed upon was that necessary legal opinion will be sought for referring the case to the CBI for an investigation. The agreement does not say that the decision will depend on what the AG says in his report," Mr. Krishnadas said.

He said that many legal experts, in fact, had said that it would be most appropriate to refer the Marad case to the CBI. If Mr. Antony had undergone a change of heart after hammering out the agreement, he should have called the signatories to the agreement for a fresh discussion and presented the new position before them, he said.

"Mr. Antony is trying to appease the religious fundamentalists who participated in the Marad massacre with an eye on their votes," Mr. Krishnadas added.

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