In a horrific incident, a 70-day-old boy was branded 51 times with a hot iron rod in the superstitious belief that it would cure him of his illness, a police officer said, adding that the incident took place in the Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh.
The officer added that a case was registered against the child's mother, grandparent and an Anganwadi worker in connection with the incident.
Though the incident at Hardi.77 village in the Shahdol district took a few days ago, the matter came to light after a purported video of the branding went viral on social media.
"A woman from Hardi.77 village, identified as Belawati Baiga, got her infant son branded 51 times with a hot iron rod by another woman, an Anganwadi worker, in the presence of her father-in-law Premlal Baiga. Her son had fallen ill and was branded at their behest in the mistaken and superstitious belief that it would cure him of his illness. However, as the condition of the child deteriorated, he was admitted to the district medical college," Shahdol SP Raghvendra Dwivedi told ANI.
After receiving word of the branding incident from the medical college, the police launched an investigation and booked three persons -- the mother, her father-in-law and the woman who branded the child -- in connection with the incident, the SP informed, adding that a further investigation is underway.
Sharing further details of the incident, Shahdol Collector Vandana Vaidya said, "A child from Hardi.77 village, Pradeep Baiga, barely over two months old, was admitted to the medical college on November 8 with Pneumonia. He received treatment and his condition improved. I spoke to the child specialist there and also the dean of the medical college."
She urged women to not be lured into such superstitious practices and keep faith in medical science instead.
"I urge all women, who are either pregnant or have little children, not to be lured into such superstitious practices. With advancements made in medical science, any illness could be cured these days. They need not resort to such practices. Please report such incidents to the police so that prompt action can be taken," she added.
The Collector informed that the assistant director of the state Women and Child Development Department served a notice of termination of service to the accused Anganwadi worker. (ANI)