Karnataka: Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru of Murugha Matha arrested a week after POCSO case registered

Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru's anticipatory bail petition was deferred by a sessions court in Chitradurga on earlier in the day.

BySouth First Desk

Published Sep 01, 2022 | 10:55 PM Updated Sep 01, 2022 | 11:09 PM

Murugha Math seer 1

After a prolonged delay of a week, the Karnataka seer accused of the sexual abuse of minors was arrested on Thursday, 1 September. Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru was arrested in a late-night action by the Chitradurga Police.

The chief pontiff of Chitradurga’s Murugharejendra Matha was last Friday booked under provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Two minor girls — both Class 10 students residing in a hostel run by the matha — had accused the seer of sexual abuse of severe nature.

“We are waiting for the statement of the minor survivors recorded before the magistrate as per provisions of the POCSO Act. The statement will reach us in a closed envelope today, and we will proceed to take action,” a senior police officer supervising the investigation told South First earlier on Thursday.

Amid heavy security around the matha, the seer was taken away to the office of Deputy Superintendent of police for further questioning.

The influential Lingayat matha has been witnessing a gathering of followers as well as other seers in solidarity with Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru for a week now. Police deployment continued to be tight in Chitradurga around the matha.

The Basavaraj Bommai government had come under severe criticism from various quarters for delaying action in the case.

Sources from the Karnataka State Police told South First earlier on Thursday that a Look Out Circular had been issued in the seer’s name as a precautionary measure.

Earlier in the day, a sessions court in Chitradurga had deferred the hearing of the seer’s anticipatory bail petition.

On Thursday, various Dalit groups also staged a protest outside the Chitradurga district commissioner’s office demanding the arrest of the seer.

Various citizens’ groups had called for a mass agitation in Bengaluru’s Freedom Park on Friday, demanding action in the case.

The complainants are currently in the care of the Karnataka Child Welfare Committee. The minor girls have recorded their statements at least three different times so far, and have even undergone medical tests as well as spot mahajar (inspection) to aid in the investigation.