Pontiff never said he will quit, say his supporters

Key witnesses in case influenced by various people: Mutt

The faction of the Ramachandrapur Mutt backing pontiff Raghaveshwara Bharati said on Sunday that the pontiff had never said that he would step down and lead a life of solitude.

Gajanana Sharma, Mutt co-ordinator for Ramakatha, told a press conference here that the seer’s comments had been misinterpreted and that he had only said that he would go on a pilgrimage to the Himalayas.

Samana Manaskara Havyaka Vedike, a group of Havyaka Brahmins closely associated with the Mutt for many years, had on Saturday demanded that the pontiff should step down over charges of rape against him.

“It is true that the seer wanted to make a trip to Himalayas and had expressed the same during the Chaturmasya last year. Every Indian will want to make this trip,” Sharma said.
Sharma said that the ‘peetha’ was not a post from which someone could be asked to step down, just because charges were made. Backing the pontiff, he said, “He has made it clear that if the claims are proved in the court, he will not just give up the post, but also his life.” 

The Mutt claims that key witnesses in the case had been influenced by various people. “The statements by M S Bhat Madguni and C H S Bhat during the recent CID interrogation contradict what they have said in the past. The government has to look into this,” he said. Female devotees have been deeply hurt by the comments made by Madguni, he said.

“Madguni has asked them to stay away from the Mutt. Such statements have not gone down well with many,” Sharma said.

Gopalakrishna Hegde, administrative reforms secretary of the Mutt, said that the claims made by the Samana Manaskara Havyaka Vedike were untrue.

“Even the second woman in question in this case did not speak of abuse initially. She was influenced to make these statements later,” Hegde said.

Gajanana Sharma, Mutt co-ordinator for Ramakatha: It is true that the seer wanted to make a trip to Himalayas and had expressed the same during the Chaturmasya last year. Every Indian will want to make this trip. The ‘peetha’ is not a post from which someone could be asked to step down, just because charges were made.

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