Sexual assault on minors: Dalit organizations warn of state-wide protests if police fails to arrest ‘influential’ seer

The main accused Murugha Math chief Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru.

Karnataka: The Karnataka police finally swung into action in connection with the sexual assault on minor students case involving the Lingayat seer in Chitradurga district of Karnataka while protests are also being reported demanding the arrest of ‘influential’ seer and justice for the victims.

The development came six days after an FIR was lodged under the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act and the SC, ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, and police started questioning another accused Rashmi, women’s hostel warden.

“We have started investigating the accused persons in the case one after the other,” news agency IANS quoted Chitradurga Superintendent of Police Parashuram as saying.

There is no rule as such that the accused should be arrested, if it is necessary the accused seer will be questioned, he said. The NCPCR has sought a report from Parashuram on the incident.

Meanwhile, a local court in Chitradurga has granted bail to former MLA S K Basavarajan and his wife Soubhagya in connection with the attempt to rape case and the sexual harassment case filed by the women’s hostel warden Rashmi in the Chitradurga Rural police station.

Rashmi, who is an accused in the POCSO case, has alleged kidnapping of two minor girls, sexual assault on her. She lodged her complaint after the FIR against the Lingayat seer.

S K Basavarajan stated after obtaining bail that he is not conspiring against the mutt. “I only protected children. After coming to know that the minor girls are in Bengaluru I, my wife and son went to Bengaluru and tried to bring back the girls to Chitradurga Mutt. But they refused to stay and later they were sent with their family members,” the report quoted Basavarajan as saying.

“The minor victims were in a bad condition and I gave them shelter. If the minor girls are truthful they will get justice, if they are not, they will be exposed,” Basavarajan stated.

Pertinently, Dalit organisations have also been protesting against the accused seer demanding the culprit’s arrest who was also called a ‘sexual abuser’.

“If some common man is accused in a rape case, police wouldn’t have let him out even for a single day, but because this Swamiji is influential, he has still not been arrested. He should have been arrested immediately. No action is being taken against him, he is not even being questioned,” district president of ‘Dalita Horata Sameeti’, Ravi, said.

“As (one of) the victim(s) is a Dalit, an atrocity case has also been booked. If he is not arrested immediately, Dalit organisations will stage protests across the state,” he added, as per PTI.

Meanwhile, several seers claiming to be pontiffs of the branch or subordinate maths of Murugha math, coming out in support of their chief pontiff, expressed hope he will come out clean and truth will prevail.

“All the shakha mathadeeshas of Murugha maths, pontiffs of various communities and all devotees are with the seer in his fight. Many senior pontiffs of prominent maths have also expressed their support, truth will prevail,” they said.

“Children are like god, we have affection for them, but in this case investigation is happening and truth will come out,” one of the seers said, but none of them were in a position to respond when asked how they can have concern for victim girls, when they were coming out in support of the accused. They tried to leave the press conference mid-way.


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