A 13-year-old girl from Hyderabad died last week while fasting during the Jain holy period of Chaumasa.
India religious fast is a common practice, except for death. "The filing of cases against the parents of Aradhana amounts to interfering in the spiritual matters of the community", Jain guru Mangilal Bhandari said.
Meanwhile, Aradhana's death invited severe criticism on her family and the community heads for allowing her to fast for so many days by giving up school. According to Reuters, they claim their daughter chose to commit to the fast even as they objected to it, and that they didn't make any secret of her actions, according to Reuters.
Bhandari too reaffirmed the family version, saying she was well throughout the ritual.
If her parents are tried, they could face up to 10 years in prison. "It was only later that she collapsed and died, more than 24 hours after she completed her penance", he said.
Jain Association representatives found fault with the parents for allowing the minor to observe such a long fast. Her two aunts are doctors, one a paediatrician and the other a gynaecologist.
Summary: "On behalf of the family and the Jain community, we assure you that we will not go against the law and we fully support the investigations". She also said that this is suicide if not murder.
As of now, an entry had been made in the general dairy at the police station in Hyderabad.
Her family, which lives in Secunderabad here, said she was admitted to hospital after she took ill after completing the fast. "We have complained to the police to arrest the parents and the priest", P Achyuta Rao, honorary president of Balala Hakkula Sangham, an Andhra Pradesh-based children's rights group, told Reuters on Sunday.
Meanwhile, child's rights activist, Shanta Sinha, insists that a police report on the case must be issued and the child rights commission involved. "Religious leaders also need to re-look at what should be allowed and what is not", she said.