Pressure builds to send 'child goddess' to school

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Hyderabad:  Sambhavi was proclaimed and celebrated as a child goddess. Her parents claimed she was Dalai Lama's friend in an earlier incarnation, but the Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission has ordered that the eight-year-old child from Kurnool district must go to school so her right to education is not violated.

"If they fail to do so, the Collector of Kurnool is directed to admit the child in an elementary school which is in the neighbourhood of her place of residence," said Justice B Subhashan Reddy, Chairman, SHRC.

Sambhavi was popularised as a child with extraordinary spiritual powers who could make predictions about the future. So, people started flocking to her.

"She is supposed to grow into her identity of Sambhavi as a normal child. That is going to be impaired for life. That damage no one can repair later on. I strongly say restore to Sambhavi her childhood," said Isidore Philips, Child Rights activist.

Sambhavi's parents claim she is being trained in Buddhist philosophy at Dharamshala in Dalai Lama's ashram. They plan to challenge the commission's decision in the High Court.

"She knows English, French, Vedas and astrology. Merely mechanically sending the girl to a school does not mean she will be educated," said P Vishnuvardhan Reddy, Sambhavi's lawyer.

The Human Rights Commission's verdict on Sambhavi comes just days after the Commission frowned upon little children participating in song and dance reality shows. The reasoning being there is a thin dividing line between exhibition of talent and exploitation of talent.

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