Murugha Mutt seer sent to 14-day judicial custody; moved back to Chitradurga district jail
Sri Murugha Mutt seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru has been brought to Chitradurga district jail in Karnataka after he was sent to 14-day judicial custody
The chief pontiff of Shri Murugha Mutt, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru has been brought to Chitradurga district jail in Karnataka after he was sent to 14-day judicial custody in the case of alleged sexual assault of minor girls. According to sources, Police will seek police remand in open court tomorrow.
Earlier on Thursday, Karnataka police arrested Shivamurthy after an FIR was registered against him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) for allegedly sexually harassing two girls (15 and 16 years old) who were students at a school run by the mutt.
Ahead of Shivamurthy’s arrest, the chief warden of the mutt, named Rashmi, was detained on Thursday followed by the suspension of the mutt secretary Paramashivayya Sath. Shivamurthy was finally arrested at around 10:30 pm after the Police investigation which was underway at the Chitradurga mutt since 7.45 pm.
The District Sessions Court in Chitradurga on Tuesday adjourned the anticipatory bail petition of the chief pontiff of the Murugha Mutt to September 1. An FIR under the POCSO Act has been registered against the pontiff of the influential Muruga Mutt in Chitradurga after minor girls made allegations of sexual harassment against him. According to the FIR, the girls were abused for over two years.
Case registered under POCSO and SC/ST Acts
It is alleged that the two girls, aged 16 and 15, studying in a school run by the mutt and residing in a hostel, also run by the monastery, were sexually abused between January 2019 and June 2022. A case has been registered under POCSO Act and SC/ST Act as one of the victims was a Dalit girl
Speaking to the media after the arrest, Chitradurga SP Parashurama K had said, “We arrested the chief of Sri Murugha Mutt in the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO) case. The second accused is being questioned. She is in our custody. There is no political pressure on us. After the medical checkup, we will present the seer before the magistrate.”
Shivamurthy’s rise & Mutt’s influenc
The arrested pontiff of the Murugha mutt was born on April 11, 1958, in a village called Godabanahal, near Chitradurga. He completed his schooling in Chitradurga and completed his graduation from the University of Mysuru.
Within two to three decades after the establishment of Mutt, hundreds of branches were established in various parts of South India, due to the religious influence on the people. The local public began to call the branch mutts, ‘Virakta mutts’ and ‘Murige mutts’, to show their devotion.
While the allegations on which Shivamurthy was booked mandate the arrest of the accused, in his case, the police waited for the last moment, even as daily since the FIR was lodged, politicians continued to give him support. The reason for this is alleged to be the electoral significance of the Lingayat community, which it appears no politicians want to run afoul of before next year’s elections.