Panel seeks amendment to Jogini Act

‘There is a need to treat statement by the victim as conclusive proof of abetment’

September 14, 2012 11:15 am | Updated 03:02 pm IST - VIJAYAWADA

Joginis Chairman V. Raghunath Rao addressing a press conference in Vijayawada on Thursday. Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar.

Joginis Chairman V. Raghunath Rao addressing a press conference in Vijayawada on Thursday. Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar.

One Man Commission on problems being faced by children of joginis and others proposes to suggest the State Government to amend the Jogini Abolition Act, 1988, for effective implementation.

Addressing a press conference herein Vijayawada on Thursday, Commission Chairman V. Raghunath Rao underscored the need to treat complaint/statement by the victim as conclusive proof of abetment of jogini system. The Government would have to amend the Act accordingly.

Likewise, there was a need to take up the trial in judicial first class magistrate and suo motto investigations by the Revenue Divisional Magistrate (RDO), he said.

The problem is less in Andhra region compared to Telangana and Rayalaseema regions. A girl was dedicated to village deity in Anantapur in January this year. These incidents take place in remote areas in hush-hush manner. Quoting NGOs’ estimates, Mr. Rao said that there were 50,000 to 60,000 joginis in the State.

The SC, ST Finance Corporation provided financial assistance to 27,000 joginis, he said. The joginis asked for allocation of pensions, subsidized rice, house sites and jobs for educated children. Few of the joginis were suffering from diseases like the AIDS. Some requested the Government to provide regular medical care also.

There were also requests to change their group from BC-D to BC-A or BC-B, he said. Requesting people to inform officials about the existence of Jogini system in their areas, he said that serious action will be initiated against persons who encourage the Jogini system. To create awareness among people about the eradication of Jogini system, Kalajatha programmes and other programmes will be organised, he added.

The One Man Commission interacted with the children of joginis, devadasis etc. here for three days. The Commission so far toured 17 districts in the State. It would take another 7 to 8 months to complete the study and submit the report. The apex court considered a letter written by Narayana Swamy as writ petition, and ordered the government to study the problems of the joginis.

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