Karnataka: Paresh Mesta’s death and the blood-soaked harvest of communal politics

Paresh's death was sensationalized by the media and communalized by Sangh Parivar by false propaganda in the runup to the 2018 elections in Karnataka

PC: deccanchronicle.com

CBI in its investigation has found that Paresh’s death was caused due to drowning and not murder as was said by state BJP leaders. BJP lies were amplified by the media and the Sangh Parivar. Paresh’s death was sensationalized by media and Sangh Parivar in the runup to the 2018 elections accusing the Congress government headed by Siddariamiah of trying to cover up the political murder of their activist.

Though there is no evidence he was linked to Sangh Parivar, BJP claimed that he was a Sangh Parivar activist after his death.

The intensity of the protests by Sangh Parivar in the streets, social media, and communal media had forced the Siddaramiah government to hand over the investigation to CBI 10 days after his death came to light.

Communal Politics over Death of Paresh Mesta 

18-year-old Paresh Mesta who hailed from fishermen’s community went missing in the coastal town of Honnavar on 6th December 2017 after clashes broke out between Hindus and Muslims. Two days later his body was found floating in the Shettikere lake near a temple in Honnavar town. Protests erupted in neighboring towns, villages, and districts. BJP spearheaded a campaign of “Justice for Paresh Mesta”. BJP and Sangh Parivar did a propaganda blitz and campaigned against congress in Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Shivamogga, and Dakshina Kannada districts accusing it of trying to shield the murderers and destroying evidence.

BJP State general secretary and MP of Udupi Chikkamagalur constituency Shoba Karadlaje alleged that Paresh’s Body has been mutilated, castrated and the head was slipt with a weapon by ‘Jihadi elements.

Uttara Kannada District MP Ananth Kumar Hedge accused the Congress government of destroying evidence and protecting Muslims from this heinous crime. He even warned the Congress government to be prepared for Marikamba Habba(Local Sacrificial Festival) alluding to violence. Every BJP and Sangh Parivar activist amplified the death of Paresh to feed their electoral needs.

Translating Communal Clashes to Electoral Gains

Though police and the doctor who conducted Post morterm in Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, denied all the claims of torture and mutilation by the BJP. Despite that, the protests intensified. Several Muslims were attacked during this period and the local bar associations took unofficially not to take up Muslim men accused in December 6th clashes. People were urged to vote and avenge the death of Hindus under the congress government.

Media coverage of Paresh’s death

BL Santosh, the now National General Secretary of BJP tweeted about Paresh during elections along with other alleged Hindutva activists. Posters projecting Paresh as a Hindu tiger came up across the coastal and Malnadu region. The entire coastal towns were gripped with communal tensions. BJP had won only 1 seat out of 6 in Uttara Kannada and 1 in 8 in Dakshina Kannada, None in Shivamogga, 1 out of 5 in Udupi, and 2 out of 5 in Chikkamagalur districts in the previous 2013 elections. BJP after this communal campaign BJP had won 4 out of 6 in Uttara Kannada, 7 out of 8 in Dakshina Kannada, 6 out of 7 in Shivamogga, 5 out of 5 In Udupi, and 4 out of 5 in Chikkamagalur Districts in 2018 Assembly elections.

As soon as CBI submitted its investigative finding Siddaramiah has tweeted

“The CBI report of the Paresh Mesta death being an accidental one and not a case of murder is a slap in the face of the Karnataka BJP. The BJP should apologise for the false allegations made against us,” “Behind every seat won by the BJP in 2018, there is the blood of innocent youth like Paresh Mesta. The blood of innocent people is stuck to the seat of power that is being currently enjoyed by the BJP in Karnataka.”

Courtesy: Satish Acharya

 

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