Abolish Devdasi system, Centre tells Odisha government

Bhubaneswar: Dubbing the age-old Devdasi tradition an affront to the dignity of women, the Union Home ministry has asked the Odisha government to take steps to abolish the practice. A letter from the ministry in this regard, has suggested that the Stage government can enact a special legislation to stop the practice.

However, the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) said it has not received any such missive. “Though we have information about the same from newspapers, we have not received any letter in this regard. Currently, there are no Devdasis in Puri temple after the death of Sashimani Devi, the last serving Devdasi. No one has also approached us to become a Devdasi,” said an SJTA source.

Notably, under the Devdasi system, a girl is married off to a deity by her parents before puberty and pledges herself to serve a deity or a temple lifelong. The last serving Devdasi at Puri temple was Sashimani Devi, who died in March this year at the age of 92.

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