A six-year-old boy was brought to a government hospital in Dhrangadhra taluka of Surendranagar district on Saturday around a week after he was branded with hot iron and subsequently contracted an infection.
Dr Ramesh Bajania, a visiting paediatrician at the government community health centre in Dhrangadhra town, said that a woman brought her son to the hospital on Saturday morning. “According to the woman, her son has been suffering from a swelling in the scrotum (hydrocele). To ‘cure’ the boy, he was branded on his hands. However, the wound got infected,” Dr Bajania told The Sunday Express.
Dr Bajania said that the branding wounds on the boy’s knuckles suggest it happened around a week ago. “Surprisingly, the child was still playful despite the wound. His hydrocele condition seemed okay,” he said.
The paediatrician said the boy’s family was economically backward.“Cases of branding have gone down significantly in the recent decade. But we receive eight to nine such patients every year,” he added.
Dr Rajesh Maheshwari, former president of the Academy of Paediatricians’ Gujarat chapter, said the practice of branding was prevalent in Vagad, a region comprising talukas such as Rapar, Bhachau in the eastern part of Kutch district. However, it has by and large gone down from the region following several awareness campaigns, he said.
Now, only isolated cases of branding are coming to light from Dhrangadhra taluka of Surendranagar and Santalpur of Patan, another district bordering the Little Rann of Kutch, the paediatrician added.