Bhatkal, Dec 8: Tension prevailed in Honnavar town on Friday after the body of a 21-year-old man, who went missing after Wednesday's communal clashes, was found floating in a lake.
The city had witnessed several incidents of violence on Wednesday evening when a minor traffic accident led to mobs going on a rampage across the city.
According to sources, the deceased has been identified as Paresh Mesta, a resident of Honnavar, who was found in the Shetty lake behind Shani temple. Passersby found the body and informed the police.
Police said that initial examination did not reveal if it was a case of murder or suicide. In the meantime, as the news spread, there was a massive deployment of police to ensure that the violence did not flare up. Police have also imposed restrictions on the movement of vehicles in the town.
BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje, who was in Udupi for a party function, said that she would be heading to Honnavar. Sources said that RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat would also visit the town.
Honnavar falls under the Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha constituency represented by union minister Anant Kumar Hegde, who is also a hardcore Hindutva leader known for his provocative remarks against religious minorities.
60 arrested after Wednesday’s clash
A minor accident between an autorickshaw and a motorbike belonging to persons of different communities led to the communal clashes on Wednesday night in Honnavar.
Several people were injured as rampaging mobs attacked each other with sticks, pelted stones on rivals and also houses and commercial establishments in town.
The auto driver allegedly attacked the bike rider after an altercation. Soon after, some youths belonging to a particular community gathered near the bus stand and began targeting shops belonging to the other community. Two shop owners were seriously injured. Several others sustained injuries.
The mob attacked tempos and auto rickshaws parked near the bus stand, and pelted stones on about 15 tempos and damaged them.
After this, a mob belonging to the other community took to the streets and attacked houses and shops. Groups attacked each other with rods, sticks and stones. Police were outnumbered as a majority of the police force had been sent to Karwar on duty, where the chief minister was on official tour on Wednesday night.
Soon, police reinforcements were rushed to the town and about 60 persons were arrested and shifted to Karwar. Locals alleged that police entered their houses at night, beat up women and children and arrested the men.
Hindutva organizations gave a bandh call on Thursday, alleging that only people belonging to their community had been arrested. All shops and business establishments remained closed on Thursday.