The parents of a 13-year-old Indian girl who died after a 10-week religious fast have been charged in relation to her death.
“The parents — Laxmi Chand and Manshi Samdariya — have been booked under culpable homicide and the Juvenile Justice Act,” said a police spokesperson quoted by the BBC.
The girl was undertaking the fast in order to “bring good luck to her family,” according to the Times of India.
“Her father’s guru advised the family that if she fasted for 68 days, his business would be profitable,” children’s-rights activist Achyut Rao alleged to the BBC’s Hindi service.
Aradhana Samdariya was the daughter of “wealthy jewelers” based in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. The family are adherents of the country’s minority Jain religion.
The parents are denying that they forced their child to fast, saying she came to them of her own volition and requested permission.
“We asked her to stop after 51 days but she would not give up. Her fast was voluntary. No one forced her,” said her father Manshi.
“The entire nation should be ashamed that such a practice still exists,” Rao said.
While many religions practice fasting, the act of prolonged fasting — even to death — is an accepted part of the Jain religion.