Tensions intensified in Karnataka over alleged murder of Paresh Mesta

Tensions in the Honnavar district of Karnataka has intensified as BJP took out a ‘Rajbhavan Chalo’ march from Gandhi statue in Karwar, to submit a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala regarding their demand for National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the alleged murder of Right-wing activist Paresh Mesta. Various other Hindu Organizations such as Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad are also protesting in different parts of the country. Huge number of police forces have been deployed in Honnavar to avoid any communal clashes.

Paresh Mesta went missing after a communal clash between two communities on Wednesday (6th December) when some anti social elements whom the right wing has termed as ‘jihadis’ pelted stones on a temple. Later on Friday his dead body was found floating on a lake in Honnavar. After initial observation the police suspected that he slipped into the lake while escaping stone pelting and died by drowning in though his family has rejected the theory stating that he was an expert swimmer.

Right Wing organizations alleged that Paresh was caught by jihadis and they brutally tortured him before throwing his dead body into the lake. There were rumors in the district that the face of Paresh was burned by hot liquid, he was beaten up using weapons and some people even urinated in his mouth while torturing him. Though the official postmortem reports are yet to come out, forensic expert Dr Shankar M Bakkannavar, Associate Professor at the Department of Forensic Medicine at the Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, refuted the rumors in his 19 answers to the questionnaire submitted to police.

According to the forensic expert there were no external or internal injuries found on Paresh’s body except for two which were caused by natural forces. Expert further refuted the claims that Paresh’s face was burned as he stated the reason for his blackened face to be putrefaction (process of decay of a body).

Meanwhile the BJP MP, Shobha Karandlaje alleged that police is trying to cover-up the issue  “The murder was covered up because Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was touring the Uttara Kannada district when the stone pelting incidents were reported,” she alleged.
“There were prohibitory orders in place. Despite this, stones and shoes were hurled at the temple. CCTV footage shows that uniformed police personnel are standing still and not doing anything about the mob armed with weapons,” Shobha Karandlaje further alleged.