Driven by superstition, parents of a three-month-old girl in Angul district branded her stomach with hot iron rod after the infant’s belly bloated up. The baby was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition after the incident. Following a suggestion by neighbours, the tribal couple — Buduni and Ajay Munda of Muktapur village under Pallahada block — branded their daughter with hot iron after the infant had a bloated stomach probably due to indigestion. Doctors at Pallahada sub-divisional hospital said that the infant is now stable. According to reports, the infant was suffering from stomach-related ailments, including swelling in the stomach.
The practice of treating infants with hot iron nails, or other traditional methods, is rampant in remote and tribal districts of Odisha. In January this year, a two-month-old in Nabarangpur’s Raighar block died several hours after his parents tried to get him cured by a traditional healer using the juice from the seed of a wild cashew apple. In December last year, an eight-month-old girl in Kandhamal district died after a “witch-doctor” branded her stomach with a hot iron rod to cure her loose motions. The girl’s twin brother, who was also branded, survived.