A 13-year-old girl died in Hyderabad, India after her family allegedly compelled her to undertake a 68-day fast as part of a community ritual.
Aradhna, a class 8 student, died on October 3, a day after she completed the fastas per Jain rituals during the holy period of Chaumasa in the belief that it will bring profits to her father's business. The girl was taking only water and that too during a specific period during the day.
Her parents Laksgmichand Samdhariya and his wife Manisha were booked for culpable homicide [causing death by negligence] and Juvenile Justice Act [cruelty against minors], under Section 304(ii) of the Indian Penal Code.
According to B Sumathi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North Zone), a case would be filed after a preliminary inquiry into the incident.
"As of now, we have made an entry in the general dairy," she said.
The hospital where she was taken after she collapsed said she was brought dead. According to doctors, at Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (KMIS) she may have died of cardiac arrest and renal failure.They said the long fast led to dehydration and affected her kidneys and other vital organs.
A local NGO Balala Hakkula Sangham (Child Rights Association) had on Frirday wrote a letter to Hyderabad Police Commissioner seeking an inquiry into the girl's death earlier this week. The NGO had alleged that the minor's family members and other community elders made her undertake a fast for over 60 days as part of a ritual.
"The girl was studying 8th class in St Francis School. She was on fast for 64 days. It was over on October 1. She was on a liquid diet for the first two days (after the fast). On the third night, her blood pressure dipped and she was taken to a private hospital here where she was declared dead. We are talking to the parents and other relatives of the girl. As of now we made a GD entry. An inquiry is going on. Once something is made out of the inquiry, then we will take action legally," Sumathi told PTI.
The family claimed that she voluntarily took up the fast and refused to give up when advised after 50 days. It is reported the girl had once successfully completed a 34-day fast