Amidst Dalit activists seeking arrest of the head of Brihan Mutt Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru who is facing charges of sexual harassment of two minor girls, a case was filed against him under the provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, as one of the victims belongs to a Scheduled Caste. He was earlier booked under the provisions of POCSO Act.
Meanwhile, the victims of the alleged sexual harassment were produced before the court in Chitradurga on Tuesday.
Crowds on court premises
The two girls were escorted by the police from the Bala Mandir to the Second JMFC Court and their statements were recorded under Cr. PC 164. Many people gathered around the court premises on getting information about the victims being brought to the court and they raised slogans demanding the arrest of the seer. The police subsequently dispersed the crowd.
On Tuesday, members of the district unit of Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samiti staged a protest near the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Chitradurga demanding the seer’s arrest. Leading the protest, the district office-bearers of the samiti accused the police of shielding the accused. They said that if anyone else was involved in such an act, he would have been put behind the bars by now. However as the seer was influential, he was neither being questioned nor any action was being taken against him.
There was tight security at Bala Mandir where the victims have been kept and at the Brihan Mutt, which is being visited by devotees, seers of various mutts, and leaders.
Support of seers
Meanwhile, addressing presspersons as a representative of around 20 seers who visited the mutt on Tuesday, Mummadi Shivarudra Swami of Marulagavi Mutt, Kanapura, said that a “conspiracy” had been hatched to defame Murugha Sharanru who initiated a rational movement and expressed confidence that the seer would come out clean in the case.
He said that after being anointed as head of the mutt, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru attracted the attention of the State through his rationalist activities and ensured overall development of the mutt. “However some vested interests that were against the rationalist movement have hatched conspiracy against him. The truth will come out. The seers of all the branches of the mutt and seers of various communities have stood behind the seer in this fight,” he said.
Nearly twenty seers from different mutts including Basavamurthy Swami of Madara Chennaiah Gurupeetha, Immadi Siddarameshwar Swami of Bhovi Gurupeetha, Shanthaveera Swami of Kunchitiga Gurupeetha, Basavakumar Swami of Ganiga Mutt, Basavaprabhu Swami, Shivabasava Swami, Mahantarudra Swami and others were present at the press conference. However they left quickly after some of the devotees questioned seers of Dalit communities about their silence on the Dalit victim.