‘Illiteracy cause for continuation of Devadasi system’

Putlibai, a rehabilitated Devadasi, inauguratingthe legal awareness camp in Kalaburagi on Wednesday.— Photo: Arun Kulkarni  

Member secretary of the District Legal Services Authority A. Vijayan said that it was unfortunate that the Devadasi system of dedicating young girls to the gods and exploiting them continued even today.

Speaking after inaugurating an awareness programme on legal awareness to the erstwhile Devadasi women here on Wednesday to commemorate International Women’s Day, Mr. Vijayan said that one reason for the continuation of the Devadasi system was the high illiteracy among women, particularly among the lower strata of society in rural areas.

Besides giving more stress on literacy activities in rural areas, he said that officials should give more attention to creating legal awareness among the vulnerable sections of the society and enable them to assert their rights and resist attempts to dedicate them to the Devadasi system.

The authorities should give maximum publicity and take up awareness campaign of the provisions of the Karnataka Devadasi (Prohbition and Dedication) Act and this would act as a deterrent to the people to force young girls into the system.

He said that the system was predominanty found in north Karnataka districts and few parts of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. He also advised rehabilitated Devadasis to use the Right to Education Act educate their children in good schools.

Mr. Vijayan said that the rehabilitated Devadasis should use the various welfare schemes introduced by the State government, including the Rs 1.2 lakh provided for constructing houses.

The Karnataka State Women Development Corporation also extended a soft loan of Rs. 20,000 with 50 per cent subsidy to Devadasis to start their own businesses.

Micro-loans up to Rs. 45,000 to self-help groups operated by Devadasis was also provided at low rates of interest.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 3:01:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/illiteracy-cause-for-continuation-of-devadasi-system/article6984493.ece

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