Sexual abuse charge a conspiracy, will come out clean: Murugha math seer

PTI, Aug 29, 2022, 3:42 PM IST

Bengaluru / Chitradurga: A prominent seer in Karnataka booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) on Monday broke his silence over the issue, claiming it was part of a long drawn conspiracy against him, indicated an inside job and vowed to come out clean in a case of sexual abuse of high school girls.

Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, the chief pontiff of Murugha Math here also said he was law-abiding and would cooperate with the investigation.

The chief pontiff of one of the prominent and prestigious Lingayat seminaries in the state addressed the devotees, his followers and media persons, who had gathered at the math premises, amid speculations regarding his whereabouts, alleged travel to an undisclosed place and rumours of subsequent arrest or detention mid-way.

”Many of you feel Murugha math’s pain as yours and I am here for you with courage, there is no situation for any of you to worry. We will all face the situation together with courage, patience and intelligence, and find a solution,” the seer said.

This was not the first time he was facing such a situation as such conspiracies have been going on within the math for the last 15 years, he claimed.

”The conspiracies that were going on inside all these days are going on outside now. There will be a logical end to all issues, I need your cooperation in finding that logical end,” he said.

There were some media reports earlier in the day that the seer was on his way to an undisclosed location and that his car was stopped mid way near Bankapura in Haveri district, and was asked to return.

There were also reports of his arrest or detention, following which a math official clarified that it was not the case and that the seer had gone to Haveri to meet an advocate and will return by afternoon.

Stating he is a ”Mathadeesha or a Peethadeesha” (pontiff of a seminary) who respects law of the land and will extend all kind of cooperation, the pontiff said there will be no ”escapism” on his part.

”There is no need for any speculations as I am firm in my thoughts,” he said and requested the devotees not to heed to any kind of rumours or speculations.

Pointing out that the Murugha Math had long ago even functioned as a court to those who approached it for justice, he said, an ”unhealthy situation” has come up now.

”I’m confident about coming out clean… there is no need for anyone to be impatient,” he said, amid cheering devotees chanting slogans in his praise.

Without naming anyone, apparently the alleged conspirators, he remarked, ”my salute to those who have been the cause for this fountain of goodwill that I’m seeing in favour of Murugha seer and the math.” The Mysuru city police on Saturday filed an FIR against the seer under the POCSO Act and certain sections of the Indian Penal Code, for alleged sexual abuse of high school girls.

The FIR was registered against a total of five people, including the warden of the monastery’s hostel, based on the complaint by an officer of the District Child Protection Unit.

Two girls had approached a non-governmental organisation in Mysuru and narrated the alleged abuse they had gone through, following which it approached the authorities and the case was registered by the police.

The case was subsequently shifted to Chitradurga. Murugha Math Advisory Committee member N B Vishwanath had earlier said the charges against the pontiff were ”far from the truth”.

He had also alleged that the math’s administrative officer S K Basavarajan, a former MLA, was behind the charge.

A case of sexual harassment and kidnapping has been registered against Basavarajan in Chitradurga on a complaint by a woman, who is said to be a staff at the seminary.

Meanwhille, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, in response to a question about the case, said the legal process will follow.

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