Honnavar tense after missing youth’s body found in lake
Honnavar: Tension prevailed in violence-hit Honnavar town on Friday after the body of a 19-year-old man, who had gone missing after communal clashes on Wednesday, was found floating in a lake.
The body of Paresh Kamalakar Mesta, a resident of Honnavar, was found at Shetty lake behind the Shani temple. As situation turned tense, the Uttara Kannada district administration declared a holiday for schools and colleges in Honnavar town and nearby villages of Kasarkod, Karki and Haldipur on Friday. Commercial establishments remained closed, while buses were off roads. A bandh-like situation prevailed in the town.
A minor accident involving an autorickshaw and a two-wheeler belonging to two people from different communities ended in communal violence on Wednesday. Several people were injured in the incident.
Mesta, a fisherman, went near the Shani temple on Wednesday after the violence. However, he didn’t return. A few people spotted Mesta’s body on Friday and informed the police, who shifted it to taluk hospital for postmortem. The police said that it’s still not clear if it was a case of murder or suicide.
A large number of people gathered near the hospital alleging that a group of youths belonging to a particular community had abducted Mesta and murdered him. Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner S S Nakul and IGP (Western Range) Hemanth Nimbalkar held an emergency meeting at the hospital and reviewed the situation.
After the postmortem, about 10,000 people took part in Mesta’s funeral procession. They raised slogans against the state government and the police and, sought justice for Mesta. They also urged the police to release those who were arrested in connection with Wednesday’s violence.
Sirsi MLA Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri, Udupi-Chikkamagalur MP Shobha Karandlaje, former minister Shivanand Nayak and local BJP leaders led the procession.