Sant Shivamurthy of Muruga Lingayat Math arrested in POCSO case, but why so much delay? learn

Rohini Swamy/Bengaluru: Sivamurthy Muruga Sharanaru, a saint of the influential Muruga Rajendra Lingayat Math in Karnataka, was arrested on Thursday night for sexually abusing schoolchildren. He has spent 14 days in court. Sharnaru’s name had figured in a case registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO Act), in which two minor girls alleged that they were sexually abused for years. The delay in the investigation of this sensational case raised many questions. At the same time, the two main political parties in Karnataka (BJP and Congress) also kept silent on this matter. Although a case was registered against Shivmurthy Muruga Sharnaru under the POCSO Act, the police were seen dragging their feet.

Assembly elections are around the corner in Karnataka and the political repercussions of Lingayat Pujari’s arrest are also being speculated. Muruga Rajendra Math, an important Lingayat Math in the state, is considered influential among all political parties. Although Lingayat mutts are claimed to be apolitical, politicians were seen lining up these mutts in Karnataka. Because in Karnataka the blessings of the Lingayat Gurus have a lot of symbolic value. It helps political leaders and parties claim the support they have received.

Karnataka mathematics and its political influence
The influence of Lingayat monasteries like Suttur Math, Muruga Math and others ranges from whose favor to vote in elections to who will be the chief minister of the state. BJP leader BS Yediyurappa is a classic example of the influence of leaders supported by these monasteries. In 2020, when there was speculation that the then Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa would be replaced, Shivamurthy of the Murug Math was one of the first religious leaders to publicly support Yeddyurappa.

Addressing the media then, Shivamurthy had said, “Yeddyurappa is a grassroots leader. He has rebuilt the party in Karnataka. They should not be harassed, we are here to support them and express our solidarity with them. If he is removed, the party will suffer in the state.Karnataka’s main opposition Congress also chose to remain silent on police inaction in the Shivamurthy case as it feared reprisals from the “Lingayat community,” a major bank of votes in state politics In fact, about 18% of the voting population in Karnataka is from the Lingayat community.

Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly, Siddaramaiah, who usually makes a scathing attack on the BJP, also remained silent on the matter. Sivamurthy had supported Siddaramaiah in 2005, when he left the Janata Dal (Secular) and tried to form his own party under the banner of AHIDA. Siddaramaiah later joined the Congress and became the chief minister of the state. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi also recently visited this math and received ‘Lingayat Diksha’ or ‘Initiation into Lingayatism’ from Shivamurthy. Political analysts say the move was to ensure the support of Math and his devotees. It might not work so well now.

Police delay in arresting Shivmurthy
However, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had said after the case came to light that the investigation would be conducted fairly and assured that the truth would come out. But social workers alleged that the government was slow in arresting Shivmurthy. A senior police officer spoke to News18 before the arrest of Shivamurthy Muruga Sharnaru and said that since this is a sensitive case involving young children, investigators are proceeding with caution. A social worker from Chitradurga, who worked closely with two girls, also told News18 before the arrest, “The statements of the victims have been recorded by the police. She has bravely faced the atrocities happening in the inside the monastery and is yet to get justice.They hope that the state government will provide them with adequate help and ensure that they get justice.

What is all this matter?
A case was registered against Sant Shivamurthy Muruga Sharnaru under the POCSO Act (POCSO) following a complaint of sexual harassment by two schoolgirls residing in the mute hostel. In this case, a case has been registered against a total of 5 persons, including Shivamurthy, including a junior priest, hostel head Parashivaiya Basavaditya, math employee Akkamahadevi Rashmi and advocate Gangadharaiah. An FIR was registered based on a complaint by Mysore-based NGO Odanadi Seva Sansthan, which rescued the minor girl victims.

Earlier on Thursday, Shivamurthy’s anticipatory bail plea was adjourned till September 2 by a local court in Chitradurga. A few days before his arrest, Shivamurthy told the media, “This is not the first time that a conspiracy has been organized against the math. It has been happening since the last 15 years. Such conspiracies inside the monastery are not “they should have gone public. All I have to say is that I will come clean as the allegations are false and baseless. I will fully cooperate with the investigation and help bring it to its logical conclusion. Because the truth will prevail and our innocence will be proven.

Tags: Karnataka, Karnataka news, Lingayat

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