Karnataka temple tragedy: Seer’s ‘thirst for power’ led to 15 deaths at Sulwadi


Temple tragedy: Four, including the junior seer of Salur Mutt, arrested

The police have unravelled a conspiracy involving a perverse bid for power behind the poisoning of temple ‘prasada’ with pesticide that claimed the lives of 15 devotees at Sulwadi village in Chamarajanagar district. They have arrested a junior seer and three others in connection with the tragedy.

The police said that prime accused Immadi Mahadevaswamy, junior seer of Salur Mutt at MM Hills and president of the Kicchugatti Maramma Temple Seva Samiti Trust, had allegedly masterminded the plot to mix pesticide into the rice ‘baath’ that was served as ‘prasada’ on December 14 to the devotees. The reason: to defame the temple trustees.

Besides Mahadevaswamy, Madesha, temple manager, his wife Ambika, and priest Doddaiah have been arrested by the police for allegedly planning and executing the crime at Sulwadi Kichhugatti Maramma Temple.

“All four accused have confessed to having committed the crime and further investigations are in progress,” K.V. Sharath Chandra, Inspector-General of Police (Southern range), told reporters on Wednesday.

Describing it as a “well-planned conspiracy”, the IGP said Ambika had allegedly sourced the pesticide for executing the seer’s plan from an agricultural officer eight to 10 days before the incident.

‘Upset over changes’

Mahadevaswamy was reportedly upset as he was divested of powers to handle the temple’s finances and decisions after the trust was formed. The trustees had even fixed a date for the construction of a temple ‘gopura’ without consulting him. “This upset him. His plan was to poison the food so that when devotees fall sick, the trustees would be arrested and they would be vilified,” said Mr. Chandra.

A Kollegal court remanded the four accused in police custody for four days, said Superintendent of Police Dharmendra Kumar Meena.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 10:36:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/seers-thirst-for-power-led-to-15-deaths-at-sulwadi/article25784768.ece

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