An FIR was lodged on Sunday into the death of 13-year-old Aradhana, who died observing ‘chaturmas’, a traditional Jain fast, for 68 days. The Monda Police Station registered the FIR against her parents Laxmi Chand and Manshi, following a complaint by Balala Hakkula Sangham president Achuta Rao, who Saturday alleged that the parents forced her to undergo the fast to bring the family luck, as her father suffered losses in his jewelry business.
“Her parents Laxmi Chand and Manshi and other community members forced the girl to undergo a fasting because their jewelry business was not going well. Now they are saying their jewelry business is good because of her fast,” alleged Rao.
Refuting Rao’s allegations Laxmi Chand, Saturday said, “No father wants her daughter to die. She had performed this ritual earlier too, but her body reacted differently this time,” adding that, “She had observed a fast for 34 days last year, and it was her decision to fast for 68 days. This was her personal devotion and we did not force her. If we had forced her, we wouldn’t have done it in front of the whole world,” Chand added.
However, Upadaya Ravindra Muni, Jain religious leader, said, “It was an accident, as her body was fine. She willfully attempted to complete the penance.”
As per reports in the local media, the girl died October 2. The incident has sent shock waves across Hyderabad, with child rights activists demanding an inquiry and action against those responsible for Aradhana – a student of Saint Francis, and resident of Pot Bazaar area in Secunderabad.