Just months after the arrest of Karnataka Lingayat pointiff Dr Shivamurthy Murugha over charges of rape and sexual assault , two more minors have come forward to file a case of Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) against the seer.
The two girls approached the police in Nazarabad station with the help of an NGO and filed a complaint on 13 October, 2022. As of now, the police have registered an FIR against seven people.
Fresh Charges of Sexual Assault by Minors Against Seer Shivamurthy
The two minor girls, aged 14 and 12, have filed a complaint at Mysore's Nazarbad police station against Dr Shivamurthy Murugha, the chief pontiff of a Lingayat Mutt in Chitradurga.
The seer Shivamurthy who is already under arrest in another POCSO case has been named again along with seven others in this case.
Based on the complaint given by the girls, the Mysore police have filed another FIR under the POCSO and as per sections 376(2)(n), 376 (3) and 149 of the Indian Penal Code, against the seer.
The parents of girls who filed the complaint have claimed that they have been working as helpers in the Murugha Mutt since 2016 and also sought help from the authorities to provide their children with good education.
However, according to the FIR, the two minor girls were sexually assaulted multiple times between January 2019 and June 2022 by the seer under the pretext of helping them in their studies.
As of now, the case is being transferred to Chitradurga Rural police station, where a fresh FIR will be filed again, and the two girls are being given legal assistance by a Mysuru-based NGO called Odanadi Seva Samsthe.
The FIR also adds that Murugha Shivamurthy was also helped by hostel warden (who is accused no.2 in the case), who threatened and coerced several other minor girls, including the two who have filed the complaint, of repeatedly visiting the pontiff's personal quarters to indulge in sexual activities.
A source in police department also revealed to The Quint saying,
"The two minor girls were residing in the Akkamahadevi hostel, which is run by the Murugha Mutt. We are told the Swamiji sexually assaulted not just two girls, but more than five or six. However, only two girls have come forward in filing this case. We are investigating all the angles and will try to approach more survivors to build the case."
Earlier, the local court in Chitradurga rejected the bail petition of the accused—Dr Shivamurthy five times. The seer has also claimed that the cases against him are part of a long-drawn conspiracy against him. He also indicated that the charges against him is in an inside job, which he is sure of coming out clean.