The parents of a 10-year-old girl child from Kalaburagi in Karnataka has been arrested for forcing their daughter to become a Devadasi. Apart from the parents of the girl, a 70-year-old temple priest has also been arrested in the case.
The girl child was forced to become a Devadasi five years ago, when her parents, distressed at her chronic illness, approached the temple priest Sharanappa for remedy.
Kalaburagi District Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Child Helpline and officials of the Department of Women and Child Development, had earlier in June, rescued the girl, after they received information that she was to be sent off with a man.
Sharanappa, who had claimed that he had facilitated many girls to become Devadasis over the past few decades, tied a mangalsutra around the girl's neck.
As per the Devadasi system, which stands eradicated in Karnataka, a girl, generally from the Dalit community, is ceremoniously married to the deity. The girl is later sent with a man who promises to take care of her, but glaring cases of sexual abuse have been exposed in the past.
On Saturday, Minister for Women and Child Welfare Umashree reportedly received a report regarding the incident from the District Child Protection Committee officer.
According to the directions from Deputy Commissioner Ujwal Kumar Ghosh, two teachers from the school in which the girl used to study, has also been named in the FIR. This, after the teachers failed to alert the officials, despite the girl failing to attend school since the past four years.
The Deputy Commissioner is also said to have sought a report from Devadasi Nirmoolana Samiti regarding the prevalence of the practice in various parts of the state.