Mangaluru, Nov 19: In a shocking revelation, it was found that the murder of Harish Poojary in Bantwal was largely a case of mistaken identity, and the perpetrators of the crime intended to cause harm or take the lives of the victims without any apparent motive, for the sole reason that they belonged to the minority community.
Addressing media persons in the city on Thursday, IGP (Western Range) Amrit Paul said that Dakshina Kannada police had arrested two accused in connection with the murder of Harish and murder attempt on his friend Sameeullah at Halegetu in Bantwal Rural police station limits, while three more accused were still at large.
The police have arrested Bajrang Dal leader and rowdy-sheeter Bhuvith Shetty (25) and his associate Achyuta (28), near Mani village in Bantwal taluk on Thursday morning.
Bhuvith Shetty had been arrested and released by Bantwal police in August this year after he threatened to assassinate rationalist thinker Prof KS Bhagavan.
Police have confirmed that both the arrested belong to a Hindutva outfit. On prima facie, it appears that the murder was committed without a motive, for the sole purpose of creating a communally tensed atmosphere by committing the murder of a person belonging to the minority community.
During interrogation, it was revealed that the accused targeted Harish and Sameeullah as a reaction to the clashes that erupted over Tipu Jayanti celebration in Madikeri and Bantwal, he said, adding that the victims were targeted by the accused at random believing that both were Muslims.
However, the intention was clear that the accused wanted to commit an innocent person at random, he told mediapersons.
Mr Paul said that the police department had been proposing invoking the Goonda Act on rowdy-sheeter Bhuvith Shetty, which would be invoked after this incident. Previously, the accused Bhuvith had three cases against him under charges of attempt to murder and criminal intimidation, while Achyuth had two cases against him under the same charges.
In connection with the murder-assault of Harish and Sameeullah, the accused have been booked under IPC sections 341, 324, 307, 302 and others, he informed.
It could be recalled here that Harish Poojary and his friend Sameeullah were attacked by the miscreants with lethal weapons on November 12 at Manihalli in Bantwal taluk hours after Sangh Parivar activists tried to disrupt peace by pelting stones at SDPI protesters in BC Road. Harish died soon after the attack and Sameeullah is still recuperating at a hospital.
Clashes: 29 accused arrested in five cases
DK Superintendent of Police Dr S D Sharanappa said that a total of 29 accused had been arrested in five cases in Dakshina Kannada district in connection with stone-pelting in Bantwal town, murder of Harish in Bantwal taluk, stone pelting on a police personnel in Kadaba limits in Puttur taluk and assault on two youth in Uppinangady.