Paresh Mesta, a 21-year-old man from Honnavar, Dakhin Kannada district of Karnataka, was found dead on December 8, two days after his mysterious disappearance. Although the cause of the death was not confirmed, the fake news that he was tortured and mutilated as a case of communal violence against Hindu-Dalits by Muslims was spread on Social media, giving rise to a tensed situation in the state.
The Situation and the Claims
Paresh Kamalakar Mesta was missing since December 6 and his putrefied body was found in a lake in Honnavar Taluk on December 8. The body was highly decomposed, the post-mortem and viscera tests were supposed to take longer time. Meanwhile, hate-mongers and later the BJP barged in to give the death a communal twist. Although Paresh did not have any open affiliation with any Political wing, the BJP claimed it was an attack against right-wing Hindus, and the Congress CM of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah has been intentionally ignoring the attack patterns and encouraging it.
The allegations came off many unverified social media posts, each adding their own colourful details about how the man was “tortured and murdered”. Primary accusations were of mutilation, castration, burning by boiling oil, head split with a weapon and being thrown into a lake.
Since December 8, senior BJP leader and Member of Parliament Shobha Karandalaje have been involved in giving it communal color
SP under #SiddaramaiahRule has declared this as 'Samaanya Saavu' 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
Even ex-cm B. S. Yeddyurappa also tried to gave it communal colour & attacked Congress for the increase in crime, particularly “murders of Hindutva activists”. “No doubt the Congress is behind such incidents,” he charged.
Imaginary details were added even after this; even BJP District President KG Naik joined in to announce that the attackers mutilated a tattoo with the Hindu god Ram’s name on Paresh’s body. Some other commoners even claimed that the arm was cut off. India today went on to report “Boiling oil poured on his face. Castrated. Head cut open. Flung into a lake. Will 21-year-old Paresh Mesta’s murder shake India?”
Boiling oil poured on his face. Castrated. Head cut open. Flung into a lake. Will 21-year-old Paresh Mesta's murder shake India? 5IVE LIVE with @ShivAroor @ 5.30PM. pic.twitter.com/lAgwJd0Lsj
As if the hatemongering on social media wasn’t enough, the story soon sparked violence in the regions nearby. On Monday, the vehicle of Hemanth Nimbalkar, Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Western range in Kumta, was set on fire by an angry mob. Violence broke out in coastal regions of Karnataka also, which were already a communally sensitive region. Although the Home Minister of Karnataka, Ramalinga Reddy denies any outbreak of violence, he admitted vigilance upgrade.
What the fact says: Post-mortem reports Debunked Accusations
The image of Mr Mesta’s decomposing body was used only to trick people’s eyes; the conclusion after the Medical Statements seem like this. Shiv Aroor, journalist and editor of India Today tweeted the report for factual clarity. Dr. Shankar M Bakkannavar, Associate professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Kasturba Medical college has answered the probationary circle inspector’s query in a letter.
The glimpse of the report:
No evidence of Injury by weapon; abrasions mentioned might be for blunt-force trauma
The change in colour of Mesta’s face is not by assault; it’s putrefaction.
Only tattoo to be found was a picture of Shivaji and “Maratha” as text, and it has not been destroyed
Hot water or chemical like acid was not used for the attack
The “genitals chopped off” were absolutely false
A blackish semisolid material was found in the oral cavity, trachea and lungs of the deceased. It is stored for chemical analysis.
Assault, Strangulation, Starvation or Hemorrhage are very unlikely
The deceased was not tied up in any way and his fingers and toes are in normal condition, debunking the struggle possibilities.
The Police arrested Thimmapa Parameshwar Nayak, a 43-year-old physical education teacher with a private school in Kumta for circulation of fake news in this case. Even Father of the boy killed has said his son was not associated with any political parties but BJP Karnataka is adamant stating he was a Karyakarta.
The Logical Indian is saddened by the death of the boy and appeals that we should not circulate news without verifying. The hate mongering and the way communal colour is being given to the whole issue is unfortunate. The right wingers don’t have anything to substantiate their claims when tweeted and now when forensic reports say otherwise, the hate mongering has not stopped giving rise to violence.