Karnataka Seer, Charged With Raping Schoolgirls, Arrested: 10 Points

Shivamurthy Sharanaru, a religious leader of Karnataka’s politically powerful Lingayat community, was arrested late this evening after massive pressure from the civil society. Two minor girls have accused him of rape and a case was filed 6 days ago.

Here are the Top 10 points in this big story:

  1. Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, 64, heads the Murugha Math, one of the key Lingayat seminaries.

  2. He has been named in a case under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and under the law protecting Scheduled Castes and Tribes, as one of the survivors belongs to the Dalit community.

  3. The arrest took place around 10.15 pm after daylong protests by the civil society and various organisations across Karnataka’s Chitradurga and Mysuru districts.

  4. The police exercised extreme caution in view of law and order issues – barricading the front door of the mutt hours before the arrest and taking him out by the back door.

  5. He has been moved to the Deputy Superintendent’s office in Challakere, in Chitradurga. It is not known yet whether he will be produced before a court tonight.

  6. The case was filed on August 26 after the girls – both students of Murugha Math — approached a non-governmental organisation in Mysuru. The two teens alleged that they were abused for years.

  7. Their earlier attempt to file a complaint in June-July was foiled after the Bengaluru police rang up the mutt authorities. Sources said officials from the mutt had come and escorted them back.

  8. Given the Lingayat community’s political clout, the state’s political leaders, cutting across party lines, have maintained silence on the issue. Earlier this month, Shivamurthy Sharanaru inducted Congress’s Rahul Gandhi into the Lingayat community at this math.

  9. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s predecessor, former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had publicly backed him, saying the seer has been “falsely implicated”.

  10. “Even if it is delayed, justice have been given to the girls,” said advocate Srinivas DC, who is representing them.

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