Home Minister meets Jain seer who threatened to fast unto death over murder of monk in Karnataka

Home Minister G. Parameshwara travelled to Varur, on the outskirts of Hubballi, to convince Jain seer Sri Gunadhar Nandi maharaj to drop his plan of fasting unto death demanding justice for the murdered monk

July 10, 2023 02:51 pm | Updated 04:20 pm IST - HUBBALLI

Jain seer Sri Gunadhar Nandi maharaj of Varur, near Hubballi, addressing mediapersons after Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara met him and convinced him to withdraw his fast unto death seeking justice for the murder of Jain monk Sri Kamakumar Nandi maharaj in Belagavi district, on July 10, 2023.

Jain seer Sri Gunadhar Nandi maharaj of Varur, near Hubballi, addressing mediapersons after Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara met him and convinced him to withdraw his fast unto death seeking justice for the murder of Jain monk Sri Kamakumar Nandi maharaj in Belagavi district, on July 10, 2023. | Photo Credit: KIRAN BAKALE

In the aftermath of the murder of a Jain monk in Belagavi district, Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara travelled to Varur, on the outskirts of Hubballi, on Monday July 10 to convince Jain seer Sri Gunadhar Nandi maharaj to drop his plan of fasting unto death demanding justice for the deceased.

Accompanied by district-in-charge Minister Santosh Lad, MLA Prasad Abbayya, Additional Director General of Police Hitendra, the Home Minister went to the Jain ashram at Varur. After a detailed discussion with Sri Gunadhar Nandi, he promised to take all necessary steps to ensure justice.

Following the assurance, Sri Gunadhar Nandi maharaj decided to drop the plan to fast unto death, saying he had full faith in the Minister’s words.

Speaking to mediapersons at Varur after meeting the Jain seer, Home Minister G. Parameshwara said that he was deeply hurt by the murder of the Jain monk. “The accused have been arrested. The investigation is proceeding within the legal framework by a team led by Deputy SP,” he said.

“After I learnt about Sri Gunadhar Nandi maharaj planning to fast unto death, I spoke to him on Sunday July 9 conveying the steps taken by the Home Department. Today, I have given an assurance on taking all necessary steps and conveyed to him that we are with the Jain community. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too has spoken to the seer over telephone. Based on our request, the seer has withdrawn his fast,” he said.

Jain seer put forth 4 demands

The Home Minister said that the seer had put forward four demands. They are

1. Protection to Jain monks during their yatra (pilgrimage)

2. Protection of Jain mandirs

3. Protection of their place of stay during yatras

4. Setting up of separate development corporation for Jains

“We provide necessary and extra protection depending on the case. On the separate development corporation, already there is one for backward classes. I will take it up with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah,” he said.

Mr. Parameshwara said that nobody try to give a political colour to this case and people stop making irresponsible statements on involvement of unseen hands or making allegation of protecting the accused.

“As Home Minister I will not elaborate on the case and leave it to the police to share details after a thorough investigation. As the investigation is being done properly, I don’t see any reason to hand the case over to the CBI,” he said.

Protest by BJP in Sagar

Leaders of the Shivamogga district unit of BJP staged a protest in Sagar condemning the murder, on July 10. The protesters were led by Shivamogga Lok Sabha member B.Y. Raghavendra. They alleged that the State Government had not taken the murder seriously, and accused the government of protecting one of the accused.

Addressing the protesters, Mr. Raghavendra said the murder had left devotees in shock. “The government had not taken the issue seriously enough. Earlier, the police said the monk was missing. Later, it turned out to be a murder. The government has been trying to project it as a murder over a financial transaction. The police should arrest all those involved.”

Further, he alleged that a Hindu activist had been killed in T. Narasipur. “Since the Congress came to power, the number of incidents targeting Hindus has gone up. If this is not stopped, Hindu activists will hit the streets and intensify their protests,” he said.

T.D. Megharaj, district BJP president, said, “Nither the Home Minister nor the Chief Minister had bothered to visit the spot of the crime. The government has not taken the issue seriously.”

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