Influential Karnataka Seer, Charged With Raping Schoolgirls, Arrested

Shivamurthy Sharanaru, a religious leader of the politically powerful Lingayat community in Karnataka, was arrested this evening following great pressure from civil society. Two teenage girls have accused him of rape and a case was filed 6 days ago.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, 64, is the head of Murugha Math, one of the important Lingayat seminaries.

  2. He was named in a case under the Child Protection from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO) and under the Scheduled Actors and Tribes protection law, for one of the live. remnants of the Dalit community.

  3. The arrest came at around 10:15 a.m. following day-long protests by civil society and various organizations across Karnataka’s Chitradurga and Mysuru districts.

  4. The police were extra vigilant about law and order issues – barricaded the front door of the mutiny hours before arresting and taking him out by the back door.

  5. He was transferred to the office of the Deputy Director in Challakere, in Chitradurga. It is not yet known if he will be brought before the court tonight.

  6. The case was filed on August 26 after the girls – both students of Murugha Math – approached an NGO in Mysuru. Two teenagers are alleged to have been abused for years.

  7. Their previous attempt to file a complaint in June-July failed after Bengaluru police called the authorities. Sources say the mutiny officials arrived and escorted them back.

  8. Given the political influence of the Lingayat community, the political leaders of the state, cutting across the party line, have remained silent on the matter. Earlier this month, Shivamurthy Sharanaru introduced Rahul Gandhi of Congress to the Lingayat community at this math.

  9. Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s predecessor, former Minister BS Yediyurappa, publicly supported him, saying that the seer had “falsely involved”.

  10. “Even when it was delayed, justice was given to the girls,” said advocate Srinivas DC, who represents them.

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