Despite prohibitory orders being passed, angry demonstrators gathered demanding a proper investigation into Paresh Mesta’s death.

Stone-pelting in Sirsi Uttara Kannada tense for second day over Hindu youths death
news Protest Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 18:45

The situation in Uttara Kannada remained volatile for a second day running, with thousands of protestors gathering in Karwar’s Sirsi area, bringing the town to a standstill.

When some angry demonstrators pelted stones at police personnel and vehicles, the police resorted to a lathi charge to control the crowd.

The protest was held despite prohibitory orders banning public meetings being passed in Uttara Kannada.

Angry protestors in Sirsi shouted slogans against the government and alleged that the police was trying to cover-up the death of 19-year-old Paresh Mesta in Honnavar. They demanded a “proper investigation” into his death. The protesters called for a bandh in Sirsi and Siddapur, although the Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner SS Nakul had issued a temporary order banning rallies and protest from Tuesday to Thursday in all 11 taluks of the district.

Over 500 police personnel from neighbouring Haveri, Shivamogga and Davangere districts were deployed in Sirsi.

Mesta’s body was found floating in Honnavar’s Shettykere just days after communal tensions erupted in the district.

On Monday too Uttara Kannada was rocked by protests, and an Inspector General’s car was set on fire. Instances of arson were reported in Honnavar too.

Speaking to the media, Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde alleged that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his government were trying to cover-up the cause of Mesta’s death. “Siddaramaiah has been trying to shut down the murder case of Paresh Mesta, who was brutally murdered in Honnavar. That is why they have produced a report claiming that his death was normal and it was not a murder. The Bharatiya Janata Party has called for a bandh ... It is the people of the district who have gathered to force the government to reveal the truth behind Paresh Mesta’s death,” he said.

Meanwhile, BJP MLAs and MPs led by the Leader of Opposition in the Vidhana Parishad, KS Eshwarappa, carried out a march from Vidhana Soudha to Raj Bhavan, and submitted a memorandum to the Governor.

The memorandum handed over sought that the Governor, Vajubhai Vala, order a National Investigation Agency probe into the killing of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers in Karnataka’s coastal belt, including the circumstances surrounding Mesta’s death.

BJP leaders, who had gathered outside Vidhana Soudha accused the state government of turning a blind eye to activities of Popular Front of India and Social Democratic Party of India. The saffron party leaders alleged that the members of these outfits were involved in attacks against pro-Hindutva activists.

On Monday evening, IGP Western Range Hemanth Nimbalkar released a letter from one of the doctors who performed the post-mortem on Mesta’s body. The letter said there was no external or internal injury, no torture and no strangulation or haemorrhage marks on Mesta’s body. It, however, mentions two injuries, and said that one could have been caused by blunt force.

Meanwhile, State Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy accused the BJP of spreading false propaganda to stir communal passions.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, he said, “Look at this; it is a pattern …They are propagating false news on social media only for political gains as the election is coming up.”

He also targeted BJP MP Pratap Simha and Eshwarappa, saying that their words in the past were proof of the BJPs intent to disrupt peace. “In Pratap Simha’s viral video, he says that Amit Shah had asked all party workers to protest aggressively. Eshwarappa has asked the party workers to lie. Look at what happened in Honnavar and Karwar yesterday [Monday] and today in Sirsi. They did the same thing in Bababudangiri and also in Dakshina Kannada a few months ago. We have to wait for the autopsy report before jumping to conclusions,” he said.

Reddy also warned that stringent action would be taken against those spreading false information on social media to stir communal feelings.

On Monday night, the Uttara Kannada police arrested Thimmappa Parameshvar Nayak, a 43-year-old physical education teacher from Kumta, for allegedly spreading false rumours on WhatsApp regarding Paresh Mesta’s death.


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