Devotees of the Kicchu Maramma Temple in Chamarajanagar’s Sulwadi village who fell ill and were hospitalised after consuming the prasadam laced with poison.

Ktaka temple poisoning Chamarajanagar lawyers decide not to represent accused
news Crime Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 08:14

After the death of 14 people who consumed poison-laced prasadam, the Chamarajanagar District Lawyers’ Association has decided not to defend the accused in the case.

The association of over 200 lawyers practising in Chamarajanagar met on Monday at the condolence meet which was organised by the association’s heads to mourn the 14 deaths.

“Our condolences are with the families of the victims who died after consuming the poisoned prasadam. At the face of such tragedy, the lawyers of Chamarajanagar have decided to refrain from representing the accused in the case. It is a moral stand we are taking,” said Indushekar, the President of the association.

He said that the accused are free to seek legal counsel from advocates in other districts in Karnataka.

“Yes, every accused has the right to have a legal representative. We are not denying that. But it is also our responsibility to defend the victims, whom we stand by. In a situation where the court orders a lawyer to represent the accused, he/she will have to represent them. We have to respect the court’s decision,” Indushekar added.

This is not the first time lawyers have taken such a stand. In July this year, lawyers of the Madras High Court Advocates’ Association had announced that they would not represent the accused in the alleged gang-rape of an 11-year-old girl.  A day before the announcement, visuals of several advocates assaulting two of the accused in the case had emerged.

On the afternoon of December 14, devotees of the Kicchu Maramma Temple in Chamarajanagar’s Sulwadi village fell ill and were hospitalised after consuming the prasadam laced with poison.

While fourteen people have died so far, 91 have been hospitalised and are currently undergoing treatment.

The Karnataka government on Monday ordered all temples in the state to take prior permission before serving prasadam to devotees. All temple bodies have also been directed to install CCTV cameras in their kitchens, as part of the same order.

In the order passed by the Muzrai Department on Monday, from now on, the local health officers will inspect the prasadam before it is served to devotees.

On Sunday, the Rampura Police registered a case against seven people including Chinnappi (55), Mahadevaswamy, Eranna the cook, Lokesh alias Madaiah, assistant cook, Mahadeva the priest, Puttaswamy and others.

“We suspect that there were more people involved in the crime. So far it looks like a dispute between the Saaluru Mutt in Malemahadeshwara and the temple’s management. We suspect that many of the people involved have gone into hiding in the forest,” Rampura police said.

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