Hyderabad: National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam on Monday stressed the need for strengthening and effectively implementing the law to tackle the scourge of Devadasi system in the country.
"The Jogini and Devadasi system is prevalent...This is not a good custom. Women are suffering too much because of this custom. Though there is already a law existing...But the law should be strengthened and implementation must be improved," she said.
Devadasi system is a religious practice in parts of southern India, including Andhra Pradesh, whereby parents marry a daughter to a deity or a temple.
Kumaramangalam was speaking to reporters after chairing a regional consultation on 'Problems of Devadasis in India' here.
She said they had consultations with Joginis and Devadasis from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
"We conducted consultations with Jogini and Devadasi community and spoke to them about their problems and what changes can be made in their life so that they are not forced into this work," she said.
"The Joginis/Devadasis and members of NGOs sought on how to better implement the laws to stop the practice of Jogini and Devadasi system. Many of the Joginis wanted ID cards, they want education for themselves and for their children, access to health care, and sought suggestions to the government to add guardian name instead of father and husband name for their children," she said.
"This problem is prevalent throughout the country. We will be talking to people from similar communities across the country over the year and by the end of this year come up with recommendation to the government," Kumaramangalam said.
"So we want to talk to the community people. We will have public hearing in Chittoor district of AP and Mahabubnagar district of Telangana wherein the community people can talk to the implementers to eradicate this system," she added.
Kumaramangalam further said they would also speak to both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments to bring out the report of V Raghunatha Rao, chairman of the One-Man Commission on problems faced by Jogini and their children.
"This report was ready in 2012 but it has not yet been discussed and adopted by the Assembly. We are going to talk to both the governments to bring this in public domain as soon as possible," she added.