Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, a religious leader of Karnataka’s politically powerful Lingayat community, who was arrested yesterday over rape allegations, has been sent to police custody for four days by a local court.
He was taken to a local court this evening on a wheelchair from the intensive care unit of a hospital in Chitradurga, 200 km from Bengaluru, where he got admitted this morning due to health complications.
The police had sought to keep the seer for five days for questioning.
The court criticised the police for not informing it that the seer has been shifted to a hospital from the jail. It told the jail authorities to give the medical reports.
Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, 64, heads the Murugha Math, one of the key Lingayat seminaries. Two minor girls have accused him of rape and a case was filed six days ago.
He has been named in a case under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and under the law protecting Scheduled Castes and Tribes, as one of the survivors belongs to the Dalit community.
The arrest took place around 10.15 pm on Thursday after day-long protests by the civil society and social organisations across Karnataka’s Chitradurga and Mysuru districts. The police exercised extreme caution in view of law and order issues – barricading the front door of the mutt hours before the arrest and taking him out by the backdoor.
The case was filed on August 26 after the girls – both students of Murugha Math – approached a non-governmental organisation in Mysuru. The two teens alleged that they were abused for years.