Aradhana Was Strong-Willed

  • Jain Elders say It Was Her Decision To Fast

Hyderabad: There was a Jain community gathering in city on Monday where the elders claimed that the 13-year old Aradhana, who died after fasting for 68 days according to the Jain rituals, was well aware of the strength of her body. She undertook fast for seven days in 2004, 34 days in 2015 and 68 days in 2016.

They said the girl was not forced by either her parents or the elders of the community to go on fast. She did it of her own volition, said Ashok Sanklecha Jain, President of the Jain Seva Sangh, The death of Aradhana Samdariya is being investigated by Hyderabad police as a case of culpable homicide after rights groups had filed a case in police station. She died on October 4 in a private hospital. The community leaders have been trying their best to convince the police and ordinary people that Aradhana died of heart attack and not due to fast. Aradhana was taking hot water twice a day for all the 68 days she was on fast. Thousands of members of the Jain community gather on the day Aradhana gave up her fast and they celebrated the fact that the little girl observed fast for as many as 68 days. Aradhana was dressed like a bride and she was taken round in a chariot as per the customs of Jains.

Achuta Rao, child rights activists has been saying that the parents should have stopped her instead of giving permission to fast. Fasting is generally done by elderly people among the Jains. The Rajasthan High Court last year banned ‘Santhara’, the custom of voluntary fast unto death. However, the Supreme Court had lifted the ban. Members of Aradhana family reiterated that they are all law-abiding people and would not do anything against law. They repeated that they did not force the girl to fast till she fell down. They said they tried to persuade her to give up fast after 51 days. But Aradhana was strong-willed and did not heed to the advice of the parents.

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