A special court in Kozhikode on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment 62 of the 63 convicts in the Marad communal riot case of 2003, which had left nine persons dead.
One of the accused was found guilty of misusing a place of worship by storing weapons and was released as he had already served five years in jail.
Initially, there were 139 accused. In December 2008, the special court of additional special judge Mathew P. Joseph found 62 of them guilty of murder and another of abetment. The rest were acquitted. This is the first instance of so many convicts being awarded life imprisonment in a communal riot case.
On May 2, 2003, a mob on two boats crossed the Chaliyar river and attacked Hindu fishermen resting on Marad beach, 12 km from Kozhikode. In the stabbing spree, nine persons were killed.
The killing was said to be in retaliation to an attack in 2002 in which five persons were killed in the same area. The brother and son of a man killed in that violence were accused in the Marad case.
The case was handed over to the crime branch of the state police in 2003 and the special court was set up in 2004.