Police make little headway in Mesta case

Source: ENS | By Shahid Mukhtesar | Published on 8th February 2018, 12:58 PM | Coastal News | Don't Miss |

Honnavar  : Police investigating the death of Paresh Mesta have made another arrest. Ashif Rafiq from Shirali near Bhatkal was arrested in connection with the murder of the 19-year-old and the subsequent violence in Honnavar town recently. He is the third person to be arrested in the case, and investigators say they are on the lookout for two others.

After the incident came to light in early December, Azad Annigeri was first arrested, but the police claim they achieved a major breakthrough with the arrest of Gym Saleem from Sagar in Shivamogga district on February 2.

Speaking to reporters, Superintendent of Police Vinayak Patil clarified the three arrests made were regarding the outbreak of violence in the aftermath of the death of Paresh. The police, however, are interrogating the three to find out if they had any links with Pareh’s murder.

“We have not yet got the post-mortem report. Once we get it, we will conduct a thorough inquiry,” he said.

The police have been severely criticised for letting a private institution, Kasturaba Medical College of Manipal, conduct the post-mortem. Delay in the institute providing the autopsy report has led to doubts among those who claim Paresh was murdered. The probe has made little headway in the absence of vital reports, according to the police.

It took a series of protests and the outbreak of violence across the district over the issue for the State government to offer to hand over the probe to Central Bureau of Investigation. The CBI, though, has not responded to the government’s appeal to take up the case. Paresh’s parents, meanwhile are resting their hopes on quick delivery of justice.

THE BACKGROUND

The finding of Paresh’s body floating in a lake in Honnavar town, which was in the grip of violence, took a communal turn that sparked a series of protests in December last year.As the incident took place when Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was touring the district, it garnered more attention. The atmosphere in the district was further vitiated when BJP leaders and those of some pro-Hindu outfits began to take keen interest in the case. Protests in Sirsi and Kumta turned violent. Western Range IGP Hemanth Nimbalkar’s car was torched and his driver severely injured. The police resorted to caning and even fired in the air to control the violence.

Timeline

December 1: Tension prevailed over the installation of some religious replicas at Naki circle of Chandavar village in Honnavar taluk, and incidents of stone pelting were reported; the police resorted to lathicharge and arrested 28 persons.

December 4: A Honnavar bandh is called by proHindu organisations and BJP workers; the call is withdrawn after the police agree to release people arrested during violence in the area.

December 6: While Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tours the district, violence breaks out between two religious groups in Honnavar; it is during this incident that Paresh Mesta goes missing.

December 8: Missing Paresh Mesta found dead under suspicious circumstances as his body is retrieved from a lake in Honnavar; Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde and BJP leaders Shobha Karandlaje, Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri and some others visit Honnavar and participate in a rally there after paying homage to the deceased.

December 11: A bandh of the district is called by the BJP and some pro-Hindu outfits. While violence breaks out during the protest, some miscreants pelt stones at the police; more violence is reported; IGP (Western Range) Hemanth Nimbalkar’s car is set ablaze and police resort to lathicharge to control a mob; prohibitory orders imposed in the town and district administration impose ban on holding any rally, march or protest in the district.

December 12: A bandh is observed in Sirsi, which turns violent; police open fire in the air and resort to lathicharge; police detain over 70 protesters including former minister Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri.

December 13: The state government announces it will hand over the Paresh case to CBI.

February 2: Honnavar police arrest second accused over the Mesta murder and Honnavar violence case in Sagar town of Shivamogga district.

February 5: Honnavar police arrest third accused in Shirali near Bhatkal in the case.

Source:  The New Indian Express

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