Fake news by right-wing website and TV channel almost caused communal riots in Karnataka


BJP’s attempt to use fake new to disturb communal harmony in poll-bound Karnataka has been exposed. This was after the violence over the mysterious death of a teenager in Honnavar in Karnataka last week spread to another town in Karnataka’s coastal Uttara Kannada district on Tuesday as the BJP stepped up its protest and sought an NIA probe in the case.

The BJP and its supporters on social media had made astonishing claims that the 18-year old Paresh Kamalakar Mesta was tortured, his body mutilated and heads splits into two because he was a member of Sangh Parivar.

The story was carried by a fake news website postcard.news, which has become notorious for peddling lies but is incredibly popular among some of the members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, who frequently share its links.

Also joining the gang in spreading the false claims were some top BJP leaders including MP Shobha Karandlaje, who posted the following tweet with some gory images.

She wrote, “SP under #SiddaramaiahRule has declared this as ‘Samaanya Saavu’ Hindu boy 21 yr old Paresh Mesta goes missing.when he was found, he was mutilated,castrated.burnt by boiling oil poured over his head & his head split dastardly with a weapon.”

The fake news also found prominence on India Today channel, which flashed almost identical information, spread by fake website and BJP leaders, from its Twitter handle.

India Today channel’s tweet read, “Boiling oil poured on his face. Castrated. Head cut open. Flung into a lake. Will 21-year-old Paresh Mesta’s murder shake India?”


Meanwhile, The father of the deceased made it clear that his son had no association with the Sangh Parivar giving credence to suspicion that the BJP may have attempted to communalise his murder to extract electoral gains in the assembly polls next year.

His father Kamalakar Mesta was quoted by News Nation TV channel, “I don’t know who killed my son. They are saying minority people killed. My son was not associated with any party or group. We are Hindus but not associated with any group.”

Father Kamalakar Mesta

police in Karnataka have arrested a private school teacher for spreading the fake news. The arrested man is identified as Thimmapa Parameshwar Nayak, who is believed to be a physical education teacher in Kumta.

The doctor, who conducted the autopsy on the deceased later denied in his report conclusively exposing the claims made by BJP MP and the fake website supported by the saffron party.

The state goes to polls in May this year and the BJP is desperate to wrest the power from the Congress at any cost. Local police had to resort to”mild” lathicharge and use tear gas to disperse the agitators as a section of them pelted stones at the forces, damaged vehicles and burnt tyres during a protest called by the BJP and others in Sirsi.

The right-wing groups later set the car of IGP (Western Range) Hemanth Nimbalkar on fire in ablaze in Karnataka’s Kumta.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has accused the BJP of using the incident for “political gains”.

He tweeted, “A desperate @BJP4Karnataka stoops so low as to use the unfortunate death of a youth Paresh Mesta in Honnavar for political gains…People are getting hurt by their irresponsible acts.”

Several people, including local BJP MLA Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, were detained by the police on Tuesday. Police said the situation in Kumta was also normal.

The latest development illustrates the danger posed by the fake news. It’s astonishing that despite the doctor’s report conclusively debunking the false claims of religious angle, the BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje has not deleted her tweet yet. This and her decision to not blur the graphic image of the deceased highlight a political motive behind deliberately inflaming the situation.