Honnavar: Tension has gripped the coastal town of Honnavar in Uttar Kannada district over the last few days. Honnavar and nearby villages like Chandavar have witnessed communal incidents over the last 10 days. The death of a youth, Paresh Mesta, has only worsened the situation with the BJP and Hindutva leaders alleging the role of 'jihadis' behind the incident.
But the Komu Sauharda Vedike felt that it is just another incident raked up by communal forces to divide society ahead of the Assembly election in the state next year.
Tension began on December 1 when saffron outfits protested against the installation of a temporary replica of Prophet Mohammed's tomb. When the situation was about to return to normal, a minor accident between a rickshaw and a bike on December 6 evening turned communal.
The rider of the bike and driver of the autorickshaw were from two different communities and their argument took on a communal color with both the communities coming to blows. Though the police intervened, brought the situation under control and arrested 42 people (28 from one community and 14 from another) in connection with the clash, a youth, Paresh Mesta, went missing and on December 8 his body was found in a lake nearby.
Saffron outfits and BJP leaders, including Udupi-Chikkamagalur MP Shobha Karandlaje, alleged that this was the handiwork of “jihadis”.
It is alleged that Paresh was assaulted and his face burnt before his body was thrown into the lake.
Though Paresh was not an active worker of any saffron organisations, leaders claimed that his involvement in the Shanaishara temple activities on December 2 (on the day of Eid) had annoyed the other community.
“Paresh was present when we held a meeting with the police after the clash on December 6. But later when he went to bring back the bike which was damaged during the clash, he was murdered. A complaint has been filed that five people – Imtiaz, Azad, Amir, Salim and Asif –were involved in Paresh’s murder. An FIR under Section 302 was registered on December 8. Though three of them were arrested (for the riot on December 6) the two are yet to be detained. We want their arrest immediately," Honnavar BJP president Subraya Nayak said.
BJP leaders alleged that the incident involved outsiders. "Anti-social elements are behind this. It is similar to that of ISIS activity and there are outsiders involved in this along with the local people. The administration has completely failed to stop their activity," Uttar Kannada BJP leader Rajesh Nayak alleged.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Komu Sauhardha Vedike leaders felt that the incident is similar to the communal activity that took place in Chikkamagaluru and Mysuru recently.
"Even before the postmortem report, Hindutva organisations claim it to be murder. How can they say it is a murder? How can they allege it to be communal murder? I feel saffron outfits are using it to polarise society when the election is fast approaching. BJP national president Amit Shah, who had visited the state, had asked them to work 'aggressively' to strengthen the party. As the party does not have any other issue they are now trying to encash on communal incidents," Vedike leader Suresh Bhat Bakrabail told Deccan Chronicle. "The BJP and Hindutva outfits are polarising society. We have seen BJP leaders involved in communal activity recently in Chikkamagaluru and Mysuru. In coastal Karnataka, they are trying to give a communal colour to such incidents," he alleged.
Meanwhile, the DC and SP of Uttar Kannada held a meeting with various leaders of Kumta and Honnavar on Sunday to ensure peace as various organisations have called for a bandh on Monday. The DC said the town will be normal on Monday. He also asked the public not to heed to any rumors and warned anti-social elements and rumour-mongers against spreading false news through social media.
He asked the people to send screenshots of such messages to the police or DC's WhatsApp number and said he would take strict action.
NIA should probe Mesta murder: BJP
Bengaluru: The BJP has decided to send a petition to Governor Vajubhai Vala seeking direction to the state government to hand over the murder of Paresh Mesta and 19 other youths belonging to BJP and RSS to National Investigating Agency (NIA). This was decided in the meeting of the Core Committee of the state BJP held on Sunday. "A delegation of BJP legislators of both the houses of state legislature will stage a protest march from Mahatma Gandhi statue in Vidhana Soudha to Raj Bhavan on Tuesday to hand over the memorandum," state BJP General Secretary Aravinda Limbavali, said in a statement. Paresh Mesta murder case will also echo in the Lok Sabha when the parliament session starts on December 15. A delegation of BJP MPs will call on Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and urge him to order NIA probe into the murder...