Special Correspondent

State-level convention of Devadasis in Gulbarga on February 12

  • `Government has failed to protect such women'
  • `Provide them houses, employment'

    GULBARGA: The Dalit sub-committee of the State unit of CPI(M) has decided to take up the rehabilitation of "Devadasis" in the State. Convener of the sub-committee Maruti Manpade told presspersons here on Monday that a non-political organisation "Devadasi Mahila Vimochana Sangha" had been formed to rehabilitate more than 1.50 lakh such women in the State.

    Mr. Manpade said that the State Government did not have a concrete plan to rehabilitate such women, and the Devadasi Prohibition Act enacted in 1982 had remained unimplemented due to the Government's failure to frame rules for implementing the Act. He said that the Government should not forget its social responsibility of protecting people, particularly the oppressed.. Even today, young girls from Dalit community were being made Devadasis. Many of them were being forced into prostitutions, he charged.

    To bring all such women under one organisation, the sangha would organise a State-level convention of Devadasis in Gulbarga on February 12, Mr. Manpade said.

    CPI(M) politburo member K. Varadarajan, who is also the president of the All India Kisan Sangh, will inaugurate the convention.

    Mr. Manpade said that the Government should immediately frame a comprehensive rehabilitation package for Devadasis and take up a survey to identify the number of such women in the State. According to the Government records, the number was 25,000. This was far from reality, he claimed. He said that Devadasis should be paid a monthly pension of Rs. 750 as being done in Maharashtra.

    The Government should provided them houses under a special housing scheme, and provide them vocational training, Mr. Manpade said.