The Jain community is under fire after the death of Aradhana, a young 13 year old who died after 68 days without drinking or eating. She fasted to favor the fate of the family. Jain leaders want to "prove" that the even for small children fasting is not a harmful practice.
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Controversy is brewing in India against the Jain community after the death of a 13-year-old girl who died last week after 68 days of fasting.
The child’s death has overwhelmed the community with criticism. So much so a group of 640 prominent Jain leaders have presented the police a list of 19 children who in recent years have made long fasts, from 68 to 83 days. In this way they want to "prove" that prolonged fasting is a common practice in Jainism, and this must be accepted.
Conversely human rights activists have been very critical of the ritual. This week the Jain community returned to the spotlight for the death of Aradhana, who died for refusing to drink and eat to observe the "chaumasa", a ritual that celebrates the fourth holy month of religion.
What has increased the public anger is that the parents, instead of crying over their daughter, revered her as a "holy child" and arranged a funeral ritual attended by over 600 people.
Aradhana parents were charged with manslaughter and cruelty against children. In fact, according to reports, they encouraged their daughter, who fasted to draw luck to her family in financial difficulties after her father's jewelry business suffered losses.
Vinod Kimtee, secretary of the guru Jain Seva Sangh of Hyderabad, said: "We reported the names of these children just to prove that fasting exists. All the examples that we have provided were of people younger than Aradhana and who now are doing well, despite the record of days ".
According Narender Surana, a Hyderabad trader, "we should not blame only the family but also society and the system, because many families want to show off as more religious than others. These children get excited about the fact that they are praised for long fasts, but do not understand the damage to their health. "