17-12-2017: Honnavar, a town in northern Karnataka has witnessed communal tension in past week over mysterious death of a Hindu youth, Paresh Mestha. Provocative statements by BJP leaders, rumors by hate-mongers in social media and some fake news websites like ‘Post Card News’ , ‘Veera Kesari’ have fuelled the tension in the state where the Election is due in early next year.
As the government and police department is trying to ease the situation, there was another incident which added to the fire. On 14th December, a 9th std. girl alleged that two unknown youths, including one with a beard had attacked her with a knife. Immediately, hate-mongers conveyed a message stating that Muslims have attacked a Hindu girl in a failed attempt at kidnapping. As a result shops and houses of Muslims were attacked.
Soon, Member of parliament and General Secretary of Karnataka BJP, Shobha Karandlaje tweeted stating “Jihadis tried to rape and murder a girl studying in 9th std”. Also she questioned the government on its ‘silence’ and alleged that Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah’s appeasement politics had turned Karnataka into a “safe heaven for Jihadi goons”.
What actually happened:
A girl studying in 9th std. had hurt herself using a sharp thorn as she was fed up with life, but later realised her ‘mistake’ and went to a nearby shop asking for a bandage. The owner of the shop looking at the wound, cooked up a story saying that he had two men in the vicinity, and they attacked the girl when their attempts to kidnap her were unsuccesful. A crowd soon gathered at the spot and created a furore . Later, ostensibly under pressure, the girl repeated the same story to the police. This was immediately followed by the attacks by Sangh pariwar goons on mosques, shops and houses belonging to Muslims in the area.
The police, sensing the seriousness of the complaint, probed the girl with the help of a counsellor. The girl shortly revealed the truth. apaprently, she was being harassed by a guy named Ganesh Naik on her way to school for the last six months. Last Friday, Naik had threatened her following which, she had narrated her ordeal to her mother.
After skipping classes for a few days, she went to school but was scared that Ganesh Naik would sexually assault her and decided to commit suicide. in the process, she hurt herself but abandoned her plan. The police is now searching for the accused Ganesh Naik as a case has been registered under POCSO act. The BJP leader, Shobha Karandlaje, who is notorious for provocative statements is yet to delete her tweet or retract her statements. None of those who fanned communal flames using the story on Social Media have retracted it either.
According to police, they have registered 121 cases till now including cases against the people spreading rumors on social media and arrested 169 people.