Mahant Shivamurthy Sharanaru of Karnataka has been arrested on charges of sexual abuse. Two minor girls have accused him of rape.
Bengaluru: The Karnataka Police on Thursday arrested Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, the head priest of Sri Murugha Mutt, for sexually assaulting two minor girls. After his arrest late Thursday night, he was taken to the Government Hospital in Chitradurga for a medical checkup. He was later sent to judicial custody for 14 days.
Karnataka’s Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Alok Kumar said Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, the head priest of Sri Murugha Mutt, accused of sexually assaulting minors, has been arrested. The ADGP said that the prescribed procedure will be followed. Medical test and examination will be done as per procedure. Kumar said he would also be produced before the judge.
On Tuesday, the District Sessions Court in Chitradurga had adjourned the anticipatory bail plea of the head priest of Murugha Math till September 1.
At the same time, after this matter came to light, the students of Murugha Math have been shifted to the government hostel here. While many parents took their children to their homes.
Police department sources said that charges were also leveled against Mahant on Tuesday under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as a Dalit girl was also among the victims.
Shivamurthy Sharanaru’s arrest took place at around 10.15 pm after a day-long protest by civil society and various organizations in Chitradurga and Mysore districts of Karnataka.
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.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s predecessor, former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had publicly backed him, saying the seer has been “falsely implicated”.
“Even if it is delayed, justice have been given to the girls,” said advocate Srinivas DC, who is representing them.