Centre asks all states to stop Devadasi practice in temples | india | Hindustan Times
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Centre asks all states to stop Devadasi practice in temples

In a letter addressed to all states and Union Territories, the Union home ministry on Thursday directed them to adopt strict measures to put a complete stop to the practice of Devdasi system.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2015 00:50 IST
HT Correspondent
A Devadasi, the word literally meaning a ‘servant’, is a girl who dedicates her life to the worship and service of a deity or temple.
A Devadasi, the word literally meaning a ‘servant’, is a girl who dedicates her life to the worship and service of a deity or temple. (Representative image)

In a letter addressed to all states and Union Territories, the Union home ministry on Thursday directed them to adopt strict measures to put a complete stop to the practice of Devdasi system.

A Devadasi, the word literally meaning a ‘servant’, is a girl who dedicates her life to the worship and service of a deity or temple.

Under the system, parents marry their daughters to a deity before they reach puberty.

In recent decades, the practice has been used to push young girls into prostitution.

While various state governments have enacted laws to stop such practices, the tradition remains entrenched in some parts of the country, especially some southern states.

The ministry has directed all states to ensure strict implementation of existing laws and keep it from continuing under any guise.

The ministry’s letter comes a month after the Supreme Court fined it for failure to file an affidavit on time during the hearing of a public interest litigation which sought total prohibition on the Devadasi practice.

Listing all existing legal provisions under the Indian Penal Code and state laws, the ministry has directed initiation of special drives for identification of all victims and their rehabilitate.

The ministry has also asked the state government seek help from NGOs.