“[Name redacted], a 19Yr old boy was murdered & hanged in Bagewadi Bus stand in Belagavi. He was hacked to death just for protecting cows from the cow smugglers, that was the only mistake he did. I demand CM to deal this sternly & arrest the culprits.”

This message was tweeted by Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Karnataka, Shobha Karandlaje, along with disturbing images of a young boy hanging from his neck.

Karandlaje’s tweet had been retweeted over 2,600 times since it was posted on May 26. Several other users have shared this message on Twitter, claiming that Shivu Uppar was hacked to death because he was protecting cows from cow smugglers, in effect giving a communal turn to the incident.

The message has also been shared on Facebook by a page titled Justice For Hindus. The fake news website Dainik Bharat also published an article stating that Uppar was killed by cow smugglers.

Post-mortem report

The claim that the teenager was murdered by cow smugglers is false. This has been confirmed by Commissioner of Police, Belgaum. In a conversation with Alt News, BS Lokesh Kumar, Commissioner of Police, Belagavi (Belgaum) said, “It is a case of suicide. We have received the post mortem report. It clearly says ‘suicide by hanging.’ Moreover there are no injury marks on the body of the deceased, according to the report.”

He added, “The deceased had a quarrel with his family. The family members have given a complaint saying the boy committed suicide. Unnecessarily, people are spreading false news for which SP Belgavi has taken action.”

Alt News also spoke to Sudheer Kumar Reddy, Superintendant of Police Belgaum, who confirmed that two persons have been arrested on the charge of spreading fake news that the youth was killed by cow smugglers. This was also reported by News18.

The same BJP MP had previously shared misinformation when the death of a youngster in December 2017 had been falsely portrayed as “murder by jihadi elements”.

This article first appeared on AltNews.in.