June 28, 2022

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Devdasi kids refused education and jobs in Karnataka, take a call to end the practice

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An aspiring teacher, Mahalakshmi, 23, has faced enormous trouble, with just one particular thing – her father’s name, while making online applications. Mahalakshmi, the daughter of a Devdasi woman has faced four times rejection for the teaching job, as she failed to mention her father’s name in the application.

She said, “Finally, I had to enter my uncle’s name,”

However, this is not just Mahalakshmi’s story of missing out on opportunities, due to the prevalent discrimination. Many other children of Devdasis have been experiencing this stigma with which they have been denied education and jobs.

With the objective to end the Devdasi practice, the children who have been discriminated from parts of Karnataka like Belagavi, Bagalkot, Vijayapura, Koppal and Ballari called for a discussion with the officials representing Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) and Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) on Thursday with the ‘Children of India Foundation’ Banner.

As of now, the Devdasi practice has been considered illegal, yet, it is persistent in different forms, they revealed to the officials. Saroja from Ballari iterated, “The practice is widespread especially in North Karnataka. If parents are unable to find a groom, they force the daughter to become a Devadasi. In many cases, men resort to it only to prevent division of property.”

Another factor that drives this practice of Devdasi is supersition. Mahalakshmi said, “It is believed that a woman will attain dignity in death only if she is married. Hence, even a child with special needs is symbolically married. If a woman is separated from her husband, she, too, turns a Devadasi as it is perceived to be more honourable than living single.”

The most ardent task is registering of FIRs, which leads to several cases going undetected. They explained, “Police change the FIR statements buckling under political pressure.”

Shasidhara Shetty, KSLSA member-secretary has appealed to them for approaching the authority’s district level offices. Anthony Sebastian, KSCPCR chairperson assured them to send their appeals to the government.

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