Dakshina Kannada Murders: Praveen's Killing a Shocker for Villagers in Bellare
Days after Praveen Nettaru was killed, Karnataka police arrested 4 people in connection with the murder in Bellare.
(The Quint went to Dakshina Kannada district where three murders were committed over 10 days leading to communal tension and heavy police deployment in Karnataka's coastal region. This is the second article in a three-part series on the three young men who were killed. Read the first here.)
Days after the brutal killing of Praveen Nettaru in Bellare, and the violent protests that followed in Dakshina Kannada, police have arrested a total of four people in connection with the case.
This comes at a time when the BJP cadre across the state are in a fury demanding justice. But, for the family and friends of Praveen, the loss is irreparable and memories unforgettable.
Praveen Cremated Where He Wished To Build a Home for Family
Nettaru in Bellare is a small hamlet with not more than 50 families. Most of the villagers are farmers cultivating arecanut. But, for Praveen owning a piece of land was a distant dream.
Quitting education at a very young age of 15, Praveen took over familial responsibilities and arranged for the marriage of his three sisters.
He also cleared land and flattened it himself to build a new house where all the family members could stay under one roof. But, today, Praveen is cremated at the same spot.
The four persons arrested in connection with the case are Zakir, Safiq, Haris and Saddam, all residents of Bellare, just a kilometer away from Nettaru, the deceased's native village.
Tears haven't dried, but for Shekar Poojari, the 67 year-old father of murdered Praveen, no guest should go hungry or be thirsty. Asking one of his daughters to serve 'Chaha,' (tea) he says, "make it without milk and add a little sugar and ginger to it. It is good during the rains."
"I am living despite all my health impediments. But, today my son is no more," he laments. After a minute of silence, he corrects himself and says, "Only the body of my son is not here. But, he will always be around. The soul can never be murdered."
"I am a hard worker," says Shekhar Poojari. "I still like to go to work in the fields. All I need is some tobacco and betel nut to chew on." Praveen's relationship with his father was special and he never allowed his father to strain himself.
"This entire drainage line that you see, I dug it myself. It took me just a day to do it. After seeing me work all day, Praveen shouted at me and immediately got some friends of his to proceed with the work. Unfortunately, it is still incomplete. Perhaps, he was more bothered about me chewing tobacco than working. I think that was what made him angry, and not the work," said Pooajri, in a laugh that he had had after days.
Loved by All, Praveen Nettaru's Murder a Shocker for All Villagers
"He never cared for himself, and helping people was his first priority," says his close confidant and cousin Padmanabha Bangera.
Talking about the work done by Praveen during the time of pandemic, his colleague in the BJP's Nettaru unit, Ramakrishna Bhat remarked, "What caught me about him was his simplicity. Everybody talks about his work, but the man's humility was something which was remarkable."
Reminiscing his days with Praveen, Bhat recalled a funny incident. "Praveen was visiting me after my tour to Kashmir. We talked about the recent developments in the state over a cup of tea, and before he left I offered him some walnuts. To my surprise, he came home a week later and asked for just two walnuts. Just two pieces, you see!" said Bhat.
When Bhat questioned him, Praveen refused to answer and insisted that he give him just two walnuts. This was the last meeting the two had.
The villagers of Nettaru told The Quint that Praveen had friends across communities, and that he never discriminated against anybody. However, his social media posts and status could have been one of the reasons for his murder, speculates his close confidant and cousin Padmanabha Bangera.
"We used to fight a lot and argue over issues. There were times when I warned him and asked him not be so actively engaged in social media. I have also made him remove certain posts after explaining to him what was wrong with these. He always was open to rational discussions."Padmanabha Bangera, Praveen's Cousin
Speaking to The Quint, his maternal uncle Sheenappa Poojari said, "He loved animals a lot and cared for them. Recently, he was angered by the fact that a few people had separated two pups from the mother dog."
Interrupting Sheenappa, Praveen's father added, "He loved eating meat. But, he planned on giving it up after his trip to Tirupati."
Meanwhile, Nootana Nettaru, wife of deceased Praveen uttered no word for the whole day. She sat there in silence, with tears flowing down her cheeks. At the time when The Quint was about to leave, she folded her hands and said, "He had no enemies, and was loved by all. I really do not know why this happened. All I demand is justice and peace in our Bellare and nothing else."
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