The death of Shivakumar Uppar, a teenager from Belagavi, took a communal turn on Monday when many people including BJP leaders took to social media claiming that he was murdered for protecting cows. Belagavi police investigating the incident confirmed that Shivakumar took his own life on Saturday night and arrested two persons for spreading rumours about his death.
The body of 19-year-old Shivakumar was found at the APMC Yard in Hire Bagewadi village in Belagavi on Sunday. Soon after his body was found, messages claiming that he was killed because he had earlier tried to stop beef from being transported were circulated.
BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje took to Twitter claiming the 19-year-old had been murdered and asking police and the state government to take stern action over the issue.
Shivu Uppar, a 19Yr old boy was murdered &hanged in Bagewadi Bus stand in Belagavi.— Shobha Karandlaje (@ShobhaBJP) May 26, 2019
He was hacked to death just for protecting cows from the cow smugglers, that was the only mistake he did.
I demand CM to deal this sternly & arrest the culprits.#OmShanthi#JusticeForShivuUppar pic.twitter.com/xIwU5Zavlq
However, Belagavi Police Commissioner Lokesh Kumar confirmed to TNM that the police have not found any evidence to suggest that this was a case of murder. "There were no injury marks found on the body. It was a case of suicide and it has been confirmed by post-mortem. He was in the Bajrang Dal earlier but his death has nothing to do with that. His family has also clarified this," Lokesh said.
Despite the clarification other BJP leaders including CT Ravi took to social media demanding an investigation into the incident.
Shivu Uppar, a 18 years young Activist was found dead by hanging in Belagavi, Karnataka.— C T Ravi ಸಿ ಟಿ ರವಿ (@CTRavi_BJP) May 27, 2019
He was in the forefront to protect Cows from being smuggled and slaughtered.
I demand @CMofKarnataka to order an inquiry into this suspicious death and take suitable action immediately.
However, Belagavi BJP MP Suresh Angadi deleted his own tweet about the incident and clarified that, "The post-mortem report confirms that it is not murder but it was a suicide.
I request all the citizens not to forward the false news and trust our police in knowing the reason behind suicide," he tweeted.
Spoke to #Commissioner of police belagavi regarding the alleged murder of #ShivuUppar.— Suresh Angadi (@AngadiMp) May 27, 2019
The postmortem report confirms that it is not murder but it was #suicide.
I request all the citizens not to forward the false news and trust our Police in knowing the reason behind suicide. pic.twitter.com/kOv2b6ug1b
Police officials in Gokak in Belagavi arrested two persons - Arjun MB (31) and Fakeerappa Ramesh Talawar (28) for posting about Shivu's death on Facebook. The duo was among several people who demanded justice for Shivu Uppar on social media claiming that he was murdered. "These two had posted fake news on Facebook about the death of the young man in Belagavi so we have arrested them," said a police official from Gokak police station.
The duo was charged under sections 153(a) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), and 505 (2) (publishing or circulating statement with intent of mischief, creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes)
"We are investigating the incident and we will also take action against those who spread false messages about this," added Lokesh.
This is not the first time BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje has raised her voice regarding the death of a youth in Karnataka. In December 2017, Shobha Karandlaje demanded an investigation into the death of Paresh Mesta, an 18-year-old youth from Honnavar by claiming that he was "mutilated, castrated, burnt by boiling oil poured over his head and his head split dastardly with a weapon".
SP under #SiddaramaiahRule has declared this as 'Samaanya Saavu'— Shobha Karandlaje (@ShobhaBJP) December 10, 2017
Hindu boy 21 yr old Paresh Mesta goes missing.when he was found, he was mutilated,castrated.burnt by boiling oil poured over his head & his head split dastardly with a weapon. pic.twitter.com/tmxkK6r2GS
Shobha's claims were later debunked by forensic science experts from Kasturba Hospital in Manipal who conducted the post-mortem on the body of Paresh. They refuted the rumours and released a detailed memorandum stating that his blackened face was only due to putrefaction (decay). In July 2017, Shobha wrote to the then Home Minister Rajnath Singh identifying 23 men as “Hindu activists” or members of the “BJP/RSS” had been murdered by “jihadi elements” in Karnataka since 2014. One person on the list was found to be alive while several others were found to have been killed for personal reasons with police confirming there was no communal angle to the deaths.