Noted journalist and founder-editor of the People's Archive of Rural India, P. Sainath, has decided to return the award and cash prize given to him by rape accused Lingayat seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru on Friday.
Sainath's announcement came after a court in Karnataka on Friday sent the Chitradurga mutt seer accused of raping minor girls to police custody till September 5.
Sainath has written a letter in this regard to the Chitradurga mutt and appreciated the efforts of 'Odanadi', an NGO which exposed the scandal by supporting the minor victims.
"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 for alleged sexual abuse of children, specifically high school girls. No words are strong enough to condemn any such offences against children," Sainath wrote in the letter.
"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.
"I would like to record my appreciation of the efforts of the Mysuru-based NGO 'Odanadi' to bring the awful incidents to light and their decades-long fight against social evils.
"I appeal to the Karnataka government to pursue the investigation into the scandal vigorously and not allow that to be compromised on any grounds whatsoever," Sainath added.
The letter has gone viral on social media with netizens appreciating Sainath's decision.
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