Furore over 13-yr-old Jain girl’s death after 68-day fast for family
The death of 13-year-old girl Aradhna from the Jain community following a 68-day ritualistic fast as per the Jain customs has kicked up a big row in Hyderabad as children’s right activists have demanded action against the parents.
The girl, Aradhana, observed the ‘Chaturmas’ fast to bring good luck to her family. Her father, Laxmichand Sansadiya, had recently suffered huge loss in his jewellery business. A Chennai-based priest had advised the girl’s parents to ask their daughter to observe the fast in order to recover from the loss in business and earn huge profits.
Aradhana’s 68-day fast ended on October 3 and it was celebrated with a huge event by the elated family.
Her residence “Samdariya” in Secunderabad area has become some sort of point of pilgrimage with a constant flow of visitors, many of them hailing the class 8 student as “Baal Tapasvi”.
Her beautiful life size portrait in the drawing room of the house is garlanded, with many people standing with folded hands to pay their respects for the “great sacrifice”.
The girl, who had stopped going to school ever since she went on the ritualistic fast during the holy period of Chaumasa, had become the cynosure of all eyes in the Jain community.
During the 68-day fast, the girl had voluntarily given up food and water. She was egged on by the admiration of visitors to her house, who hailed her as a great soul and took many selfies near the platform where she was on fast.
After a grand ceremony to mark the completion of 68 days of fasting, attended by hundreds of people, including many VIPs and religious figures of the Jain community, the fervor and awe gave way to apprehensions and rumination as the young girl collapsed. She had to be rushed to a hospital where she died two days later due to cardiac arrest.
Aradhna’s father Lakshmichand Sansadiya, a jeweller in Secunderabad defended the fast. “She had performed such rituals many times in the past, but this time her body reacted in a different way”.
The family members said that the girl was neither coerced to go on fast nor was it hidden from anybody.
Significantly, a State Minister T Padma Rao, who represents Secunderabad was also scheduled to attend the concluding ceremony of the fast but did not turn up due to other engagements.
Achyta Rao, a child rights activist has written to the Hyderabad Police Commissioner to book a murder case against the parents for allowing her to be on fast for such a long period.
The girl had died in October 5, but it came to light now after Achyut Rao of Balala Hakkula Sangam (Child Rights Organization) lodged the complaint with the police alleging that the father had forced the daughter to go on fast under the superstitious belief that it will help him recover his business losses.
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