NCPCR seeks inquiry against pontiff of influential Karnataka mutt; students shifted to government hostel

Source: PTI | Published on 1st September 2022, 12:56 PM | State News | National News | Don't Miss |

New Delhi/Chitradurga: The apex child rights body NCPCR has sought an inquiry report from the Karnataka police into the sexual assault allegations against a head pontiff of an influential mutt in Karnataka's Chitradurga district.

According to media reports, two minor girls, who have accused the head pontiff of the Mutt in Karnataka's Chitradurga district of sexual assault, on Tuesday recorded their statements before a magistrate.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, in a letter to the Karnataka Superintendent of Police, asked him to conduct an inquiry into the matter ensuring that the victims' identities are not disclosed during the process of investigation.

It asked the SP to furnish a detailed report of the case along with other documents within seven days from the date of receipt of this letter.

The Chitradurga district police produced the two victims in the court of a Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) to record their statements under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) as part of their investigations.

Statements before a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC can be considered key evidence in a crime.

Many parents too took their children home after the controversy broke out and the seer was booked.

The pontiff was also charged under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on Tuesday as one of the survivors is a Dalit girl, sources in police department said.

The case under the SC/ST Act was registered after Dalit organisations staged a protest on Tuesday, demanding the immediate arrest of Sharanaru, they said.

It is learnt that the police team is frequently visiting the Math and the hostel ever since the case came to light.

Sharanaru has claimed that the allegations were part of a long-drawn conspiracy against him, indicated an inside job, and vowed to come out clean in the case.

The chief pontiff of one of the Lingayat seminaries in the state, the seer also said he was law-abiding and would cooperate with the investigation.

The Mysuru city police on Saturday filed an FIR against the seer under the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and certain sections of the Indian Penal Code for the alleged sexual abuse.

The FIR was registered against a total of five people, including the warden of the monastery's hostel, based on the complaint by an officer of the District Child Protection Unit.

Two girls had approached a non-governmental organisation in Mysuru and narrated the alleged abuse following which it contacted the authorities and the case was registered by the police.

It was subsequently shifted to Chitradurga, the place where the alleged crime took place.

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