Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, who also belongs to the Lingayat community – a major vote bank for BJP – has assured a proper investigation into the case.
His predecessor Yeddiyurappa, who too belongs to the Lingayat community, however, told the media on Sunday that “it is a false charge”. “There is no truth in it and after the completion of the investigation he (the seer) will come out clean.”
On Monday, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Siroya said the Karnataka government and all the political parties have to ensure that there are no pulls, pressures, politics and interference in this case. “The girls deserve nothing but justice,” Siroya said in a press release. He added if there is even “an iota of doubt” that the interests of justice would be served better if the case is transferred out of Karnataka, then that should be considered as well.
Responding to media questions in Bengaluru, Bommai said making comments or interpreting the case is not good for the investigation. “The police have complete freedom in the investigation and the truth will come out.”
On Monday, Sharanaru claimed the allegations are part of a long drawn conspiracy against him and vowed to come out clean in the case of alleged sexual abuse of high school girls. He also said that being a law-abiding citizen he would cooperate with the investigation.
An FIR has been registered against five people, including the seer and the warden of the monastery’s hostel, on the basis of a complaint by a district child protection unit official. The girls had approached Odanadi Seva Samsthe, a Mysore-based NGO, to which they narrated the ordeal they went through under the guise of counselling. Subsequently, the NGO helped them in registering the case.
With less than a year to go for the Karnataka assembly polls, the Pocso case against Sharanaru, the chief pontiff of the Murugha Mutt in Chitradurga, could become a major political issue.
It is to be noted that mutts and other religious organisations have played a crucial role in influencing voters in the state for years.
The Chitradurga Mutt has regularly hosted political leaders cutting across party lines. Congress’ Rahul Gandhi and BJP leader Amit Shah are among those who have called on Sharanaru on various occasions.
Chitradurga’s Murugha Mutt is one of the most prominent monasteries in Karnataka, which runs over 150 spiritual and educational institutions.