13-year-old Aradhana's Jain parents proud she starved to death
- Aradhana, daughter of a jeweller, died after a fast for 68 days.
- The death of the 13-year-old is being treated by Jain community as a 'sacred act'.
A petition filed by a children's rights organisation brought to light how the religious beliefs of a family and the support of relatives led to the death of an innocent school girl in Telangana's state capital Hyderabad.
But for the organisation, the death of 13-year-old Aradhana would have gone buried in the celebrations and rituals of the community as a 'sacred act'.
The incident came to light when the local Balala Hakkula Sangham (Children’s Rights Association) lodged a complaint with the Police Commissioner against the family on the grounds of human sacrifice.
The police had quickly summoned the parents for questioning.
According to Achyutarao, president of the organisation, the death should be treated as a human sacrifice and the family should be booked under the relevant provisions.
“Upon receiving the information of the passing of the girl after the final rites, we had conducted a thorough investigation into the conditions that led to the death of Aradhana. We found unflinching evidence to show that the family had forced her to take up the fast for business prospects. A guru is said to have advised them that a fast of 68 days by the girl would bring them luck and profits in the family business. So, the death amounts to the human sacrifice,” Rao told Asianet Newsable.
He said Balala Hakkula Sangham had met family members, relatives, school teachers, Aradhana’s friends and visited the graveyard before lodging a complaint with Hyderabad Police Commissioner.
Aradhana, daughter of a Secunderabad-based jeweller Lakshmi Chand Samdharia, died on October 3, after performing Tapasya (fast) for 68 days during Chaumas, a holy period of Jain Community.
Even though the girl, a student at St Francis School, Secunderabad, ended her fast successfully, the 'Bala Tapasvi' fell ill the next day. She was rushed to KIMS hospital in the early morning of October 3, but the hospital said she was brought dead and issued a certificate to that extent.
What is interesting, the family had no regrets about the death of their daughter. The mortal remains were taken in a Shobha Yatra (procession) to the Jain burial ground near Kavadi Guda and last rites were carried reverentially.
The defence of the family members is that the girl was religiously oriented and had dreams of becoming a Jain monk. The fast of the eighth standard student drew friends and relatives in great number to the family and the fast ended on a ceremonial note over a feast with everybody taking selfies with the girl who was treated as 'Bala Tapasvi'.
The family members said it was not her first fast and she had performed similar Tapasya for 34 days sometime back.
According to the family members, during the long fast Aradhana did not complain of any health complication, even though she was fed only hot water.
"She took up the fast voluntarily and there was no pressure whatsoever from the family members on her to take up the fast as he was used to this. Aradhana was on fast 34 days earlier," is the version of Dinesh Jain Aradhana's uncle.
Police interrogation revealed many interesting aspects of Aradhana's life. Her father used to encourage his two daughters to participate in the religious activities of the Jain community. The girls were raised by the family in such a way that one day they would become Jain Monks.
According to the police, Aradhana was even sent to a school in Patan Pashwanath Tirth, Gujarat to get Jain religious education.
Police are of the opinion that it was a clear case of abetment of suicide. But the family still feels that it was not a case of suicide, and there is a feeling of religious pride among them that their daughter became Bala Tapaswi.