Prominent Lingayat seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru was arrested earlier on Thursday night for sexually assaulting two minor students. The arrest came a week after an FIR was filed against him under POCSO Act. The arrest of the Lingayat chief also came after multiple protests and social media outrage was witnessed against inaction by the state police regarding the matter.

According to reports, the Mysuru police filed an FIR against Sharanaru under IPC Section 376 and POCSO Act. The victims in the matter had alleged that the Lingayat mutt chief had sexually assaulted them multiple times between January 2019 and June 2022. It should be noted that three other accused in the matter, junior seer Basavaditya, secretary Paramasivayya and an advocate identified as Gangadharayya are reported to be on the run.

Prior to the arrest, the Karnataka police had issued a lookout notice against Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru. For the unversed, such notices are issued to make sure an alleged accused who is wanted can’t leave the country. The notice was floated to immigration points across the nation found at airports and seaports.

Earlier on August 29, the seer was reported with claims of an alleged “conspiracy” against him and adding that he would come out clean in the matter.

The mutt was visited earlier by several leaders, including former Karnataka CM Yediyurappa, current CM Basavaraj Bommai and others.

The Facts of the Matter

Days after allegations of sexual assault were made against Lingayat seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, Sharanaru was earlier on Thursday arrested. The arrest also came hours after a lookout notice was issued against Sharanaru, prohibiting him from leaving the country.

The currently 64-year-old Lingayat mutt seer was booked under multiple sections of IPC, including Section 376 (Punishment for rape), and under the POCSO Act, 2012.

The arrest came after intensifying public outrage on social media against Sharanaru and amid the growing protests against him held by Dalit organizations. It should be noted that one of the alleged victims hails from the Scheduled Caste community.


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How the Victims Came Forward?

According to reports, the seer has been accused of sexually assaulting two minors, aged 15 and 16, at a school run by the mutt and in hostel run by the mutt itself. The victims were allegedly abused repeatedly between January 2019 and June 2022.

The alleged victims have also alleged that they were drugged before the assault and claimed that they have videos which they will submit once a probe is initiated.

The victims in the matter told the Child Welfare Committee that they were abused repeatedly between January 2019 and June 2022.

The complainant in the matter was Chandrakumar C, a member of the Mysuru district child protection unit. The victims had allegedly reached out to an NGO working for human trafficking victims.


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Mutt Seer Denies Involvement, Claims ‘Conspiracy’

Meanwhile, the mutt chief has categorically denied allegations against him. Further, he had earlier blamed the former administrator of the mutt, SK Basavarajan for hatching a conspiracy against him. It should be noted that the seer and mutt administrator hail from the same village and belong to the Jangamaru community.


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Mutt Seer holds Considerable Political Influence

To say that the Mutt holds a considerable political power would be an understatement. The alleged accused seer Sharanaru is the chief of one of the most prominent mutts in Karnataka.

It should be noted that both former Karnataka Chief Minister and the current one, are from the same community and have visited the Mutt seer. Further, the Mutt’s prominence cuts all political ranks as even Congress leader Rahul Gandhi met seer Sharanaru earlier this year.

 

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