Trouble is mounting for Lingayat seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru of the Chitradurga Murugha mutt, who was arrested in September on charges of rape as more victims have now come forward.
On Thursday, two more minor victims lodged a POCSO case against the influential seer who is currently under judicial custody.
Girls aged 12, 14 file rape complaint against seer
According to police, an FIR has been booked in Nazarbad police station of Mysuru city following the direction of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
The two new victims, aged 12 and 14, had approached the CWC in Mysuru on Thursday and submitted their complaint against the accused seer.
According to reports, the mother of the two minor girls used to work in the Mutt headed by the accused.
Six rape case against seer
The girls were staying at the Akkamahadevi hostel run by the Chitradurga mutt. They had approached the Odanaadi NGO and later the matter was brought before the CWC.
The Odanaadi NGO Mysuru was instrumental in lodging the case against the accused seer by two minor victims of sexual assault earlier.
So far a total of six minor girls have filed rape complaints against the seer.
Shiva Murthy Murugha Sharanaru is the pontiff of the Jagadguru Murugarajendra Vidyapeetha Mutt in Karnataka’s Chitradurga, and one of the most influential Lingayat leaders in Karnataka.
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He was arrested on September 1, days after minor girls studying at hostels run by the mutt filed sexual assault complaints against him.
The Karnataka Government and Police were accused of delaying action against him due to the influence he and the Mutt have in the state.
Even after his arrest, several top politicians cutting across party lines had come out in support of him.
Seer refuses to step down
According to some claims, a fight for control of the highly influential and wealthy Mutt may have been behind the allegations surfacing in public.
Following his arrest, there was increasing pressure on the seer to step down as the pontiff of the Mutt, which he has refused so far.
Last month prominent leaders of the Lingayat community held a meeting in Chitradurga to discuss the future of the historical, cash-rich mutt.
The leaders discussed how to retain the legacy, history, and heritage of the Chitradurga Mutt as the accused seer is refusing to step down. Many leaders had demanded in the meeting to appoint a new head priest.
No special treatment in jail
The arrested seer is presently in judicial custody till October 21. The local court had rejected the bail petition by the accused five times and also denied any special treatment to him in the prison.
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