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Children branded with hot iron rods to cure illness

In tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh, the superstition of having infants branded with a hot iron by tantriks (self-proclaimed faith-healers) for ailments such as pneumonia persists. Three male children aged two to seven months have been admitted to the government hospital in Jhabua district, west MP, following cruel tantric practise. The incident occurred only two months after two Kol tribe baby girls died of pneumonia as a result of medical complications caused by branding with a hot iron by a woman faith-healer in the Shahdol district. Three male infants, aged two months, six months, and seven months, are from the villages of Pipliyakhadan, Hadumatiya, and Samoi, respectively. They were admitted to the Jhabua District Hospital’s paediatric ICU. The infants, who had a cough, cold, and fever at first, gradually developed pneumonic symptoms. Instead of taking the tribal children to government or private health facilities, their parents took them to local tantriks, who diagnosed the illness as ‘Daabna’ and branded the three children on the chest and abdomen with scalding hot iron. With the branding wreaking havoc on their health, the three families finally admitted the three children to the hospital, where they are listed as critical in the paediatric ICU. While doctors work around the clock to save the three infants, their parents have not filed any complaints against the tantriks because it was done with their permission.


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