Noted journalist and Ramon Magsaysay awardee P Sainath on Friday said he is returning the Basavashree award, which was conferred on him by the Murugha Math in 2017. In a series of tweets, Sainath made his decision public after the chief pontiff of the Murugha Math, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, was arrested for the alleged sexual abuse of school girls.
“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 the tweets. He said he was disturbed to learn from media reports that Sharanaru faces charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the SC-ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
No word is strong enough to condemn such offences against children, the eminent journalist said. He also appreciated the efforts of Mysuru-based NGO “OdaNadi" to bring the incidents to light and their decades-long fight against social evils.
He also appealed to the Karnataka government to pursue the investigation into the scandal vigorously. The pontiff has been remanded in police custody till September 5 in connection with the case.