VIJAY NAGAR: 19-year-old girl from Vijaynagar district was rescued last week after she alerted the cops about her parents’ plan to trade her into the inhumane Devadasi practice. The girl was taken to safety by her parents by the district administration and officials from the Devadasi Nirmoolana Kendra, a center that works under the women and child welfare department.
Law to curb it was passed in 1982, yet girls continue to be forced into ‘Devadasi’ practice.
The 19-year-old girl, Manjula (name changed) had loved a boy from her neighborhood and had decided to tie bonds with him, but her parents had strongly opposed this decision. With only two daughters, the parents had feared that their daughter along with her husband would take away their property. So her parents were keen to push her into the explicit Devadasi practices. The girl’s mother was a former Devadasi. The parents had even contacted a senior Devadasi to aid them with their plans.
Upon learning her parents’ plans, the girl had quickly contacted the police. The police had prepared a raid. 3 days after the raid, her parents had agreed to get their daughter married. The police say that the case became easy as the victim herself had reached out for help.
The practice of Devadasi, though done in the name of pleasing the gods and goddesses, leaves the girls as sex slaves with no future. The State Government has taken initiatives to eradicate the ill-practice of Devadasi, yet some parts of Karnataka have still managed to keep these rituals alive.
Ballari and newly-formed Vijayanagar have 10,000 registered devadasis who are currently under government rehabilitation. The State government provides them a monthly pension of Rs 1,500, called the “Devadasi Maintenance Allowance”. The Karnataka State Women's University found more than 80,000 Devadasis in Karnataka in 2018; while a government study found 40,600 in 2008.
The government is striving to keep a strict eye on these practices, but they continue to happen under its nose.