P Sainath to Return his Basavashree Award Over Murugha Math Case
P Sainath. Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
Noted journalist and founder-editor of the People's Archive of Rural India (PARI) P Sainath announced that he would return his Basavashree award in response to the allegations against the chief pontiff of the Murugha Math, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru.
The award was conferred on Sainath by the Math on October 23, 2017, "for his yeoman service rendered through People's Archive of Rural India on the rural folk in the way of a Journalistic Movement."
Sharanaru was booked on August 26 under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act (2012) and various other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). This came after Sharanaru was accused by two minor girls of rape and sexual harassment. The incidents allegedly happened when the girls were staying in the math in Chitradurga, Karnataka.
The complaint was registered in Nazarabad police station based on an application by the OdaNadi Seva Samsthe NGO in Mysore. Sharanaru is among the three accused mentioned in the complaint. He was finally arrested on Thursday, September 1, after evading arrest for around six days after the case was registered.
"In solidarity with the survivors and with the cause of justice, in this case, I hereby return the Basavashree award (and the Rs 5 lakh prize money that came with it by cheque) conferred on me by the Math in 2017," Sainath said in one of his tweets.
1/5. I am most disturbed to learn from media reports of the appalling developments involving the pontiff of the Shri Murughamath in Chitradurga, Shri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru. He now faces a case and charges under the POCSO and SC/ST act.#MurughaMutt
— P. Sainath (@PSainath_org) September 2, 2022
In his Twitter thread, Sainath appreciated the efforts of the OdaNadi NGO for bringing "the awful incidents to light" and their fights against social evils. The Ramon Magsaysay awardee also appealed "to the Karnataka government to pursue the investigation into the scandal vigorously and not allow that to be compromised on any ground whatsoever."
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