Activist questions silence over rape-accused Lingayat seer in Karnataka | Azad Times

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Azad Times News Desk.

Stanley KV from Odanadi NGO was speaking at a public event in Bengaluru.

Stanley KV, the founder of Odanadi, the Mysuru-based NGO, questioned politicians in Karnataka on their silence over the allegations against Lingayat seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru. The organisation had brought to light allegations of sexual harassment and assault by the seer. Speaking at the St Joseph's auditorium on Saturday, February 11, in Bengaluru at an event titled 'Karnataka Against Sexual Violence’, Stanley said, "When we initially made the allegations public, we did not receive support from political leaders. In fact, many said that these allegations must not be true."

He said that more should be done to call out the seer and ensure justice for the girls who have accused him. "We have to question the perpetrators and not the people trying to highlight the injustice. The seer has acres of land in Kodagu district. He was commuting between Chitradurga and Kodagu in a helicopter. It is a sign to say in this democracy, religion and politics go hand in hand," Stanley said. 

In August 2022, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru was booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act after two school girls accused him of sexually assaulting them for years during their stay at the hostel run by Murugha math. He was arrested on September 1 of the same year. 

The rape-accused seer initially received support from top political leaders including former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. However, in November 2022, months after his arrest, Yediyurappa publicly denounced the seer saying that he had “committed an unpardonable crime which is known to the world."

Meenakshi Bali, from the Akhil Bharatiya Mahila Janavadi Sanghatana, said that the developments in the Murugha math seer's case are an example of the way cases against religious leaders are often fought. "There are many similar self-proclaimed religious leaders like Nithyananda, Asaram Bapu, and Raghaveshwara Bharati who enjoyed similar privileges. In Raghaveshwara Bharati's case, ten judges recused themselves from hearing the case," she said.

Read: A powerful Karnataka seer accused in 2 rape cases and a saga of recusals by judges

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