The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Centre and six states, requesting a detailed report on “the continued menace of Devadasi system in various temples, particularly in the southern part of the country.”.
In response to a media report regarding the system, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of the matter.
In the past, various laws have been enacted to stop the malpractice of the Devadasi system, but it persists… The Supreme Court has also condemned the practice of dedicating young girls to serve as Devadasis in its judgement.
According to the Supreme Court, the practice violates women’s rights to life, dignity, and equality by subjecting them to sexual exploitation and prostitution.
According to a media report cited by the NHRC, most of the victims are from poor families, and many belong to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The report explains that when a girl becomes a Devadasi, she is married to the temple’s deity and takes care of the priest and daily temple rituals for the rest of her life.
Most of the victims of this malpractice are being abused sexually. The women are exploited by men, impregnated, and left to their fate.” According to the panel, the Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh governments declared this system to be illegal in 1982 and 1988, respectively.
According to reports, however, more than 70,000 women live as Devadasis in Karnataka alone. According to a commission headed by Justice Raghunath Rao, there are approximately 80,000 Devadasis in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
It has sent notices to the Secretaries of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, as well as the Chief Secretaries of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra.
It is expected that they will submit a detailed report within six weeks.
In order to facilitate the rehabilitation of these women, the governments have been asked to provide data on the steps taken or proposed by the authorities to prevent the Devadasi system.