K’taka Jain pontiff murder: Horrifying brutality, uplifting forgiveness

K’taka Jain pontiff murder: Horrifying brutality, uplifting forgiveness. — IANS

M.K. Ashoka

Bengaluru, July 16 (IANS) Two incidents shook the conscience of the people of Karnataka last week. The brutal, gruesome details of the murder of a Jain pontiff shocked the people and religious leaders and at the same time the forgiveness granted by another prominent Jain pontiff to the killers shook the people’s souls.

The murder of the Jain pontiff is regarded as one of the most brutal murder cases in the history of Karnataka.  

Horrific details emerged from the investigation of Jain pontiff Acharya Shree 108th Kamakumara Nandi Maharaja murder case. Police sources said that the accused persons unleashed horror on the pontiff who ate food only once on that fateful day in the morning on July 6.

Both the accused had first attempted to electrocute the pontiff. Later, they strangled him with a towel. His body was chopped into pieces for disposal, police sources stated.

 Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal said that the accused tried to dispose off the body into an open borewell which had a small opening.

They first chopped off the hands and legs. Whenever, the body was not going under, they mutilated and chopped it more and stuffed it into the open borewell. They also beheaded him.

The incident had taken a political and communal turn. Though the Jain pontiffs have dropped their fast and agreed to the government’s requests, Hindu activists and the BJP still maintain that it is an act of terror.

They are demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Union Minister for Mines, Coal, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi has stated that he will discuss the murder case with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Kusuma, the devotee who cooked food for the pontiff, said that he was not in his room on July 6. Suspicions arose when they found divine tools called pinchi, kamandala which the pontiff carried with him all the time.

The trustees later found the pontiff’s mobiles and the door of the treasury open. A missing complaint was lodged on July 8 at noon, when they could not find him. After beginning the probe, the Chikodi police in Belagavi district zeroed in on the accused persons in four hours and grilled them.

The accused Narayan Maali and Hassan a.k.a Hassan Dalayat confessed to the murder of the Jain pontiff. The two who gained entry into the pontiff’s room tried to electrocute him. After finding the pontiff still alive, they strangled him with a towel. 

After killing him, the accused had packed the body into a gunny bag and later took the gunny bag containing the body on a bike. They had travelled for about 35 kilometers on the bike with the body.

After reaching Khatakabhavi, the killers cut the body into pieces and disposed it into an open borewell. They burnt their blood soaked clothes as well as a diary belonging to the pontiff.

Narayan Maali had taken the help of his friend, Hassan Dalayat, a lorry driver to carry out the heinous murder.

Narayan Maali from Khatakabhavi village had a good rapport with the pontiff. After winning his confidence he had taken lakhs of rupees from the pontiff as loan. When he was asked to repay the loan by the pontiff, he had killed him, the police said.

The matter has taken a political turn with the BJP and Hindu activists alleging that the ruling Congress is protecting the accused and hushing up the case. Hindu activists suspect it to be an act of terrorists and have demanded a CBI probe. However, the state government  has refused to hand over the case to the CBI.

 Commenting on the trend of brutal murders and the chopping of the bodies, Dr Sachin Baliga, Consultant – Psychiatry, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru, stated that, many of these individuals come from emotionally impoverished backgrounds and end up having a lack of empathy and limited capabilities for developing deeper emotional bonds with others.

Quite frequently, this makes them cold and remorseless towards others, making them lose their moral compass and have a complete disregard for what is right and what is wrong. It can also make them manipulative, leading them to engage in lying, cheating and swindling.

A lot of them also get exposed to violence at a very young age, either through parents or some relative or friend. This makes violence an easy way of dealing with stress  or establishing control, Dr. Baliga said.

Prominent Karnataka Jain pontiff Gunadharanandi Muni Maharaj who had launched a fast until death agitation stated while withdrawing the fast that the killers should not be punished harshly and let there be a change in their hearts.

The gesture of the pontiff had moved the common people. It is to be seen if this gesture goes a long way in changing the hearts of criminals.  

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