Aradhana’s Parents Booked

  • Jain Community Elders Are Upset

Hyderabad: The parents of the 13-year old Jain girl, Aradhana, who died two days after she ended her 68-day fast have been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. It may be recalled that Aradhana Samdariya, a 8th class student was on fast as per the Jain rituals and she gave it up on October 3. She was admitted in a private hospital by her parents as she appeared very weak. The girl’s organs had failed leading to death.

The city police on Sunday booked a case against the parents of the girl. Though the parents claimed that her child died in the hospital, the hospital authorities made it clear the she was brought dead. Aradhana was a religious minded girl and she undertook fast for seven days and 35 days earlier. Laxmichand Samadariya, a jewel merchant and father of Aradhana, said he asked his daughter to give up fast after 51 days but she refused to do so. He said he or anyone else did not force his daughter to undertake fast. ‘She asked for permission to go on fast and we gave it’, said the father.

Aradhana is being hailed after death as a ‘Bal Tapasvi’. This is seen by activists as a dangerous trend since other religiously inclined people might try to emulate her and kill themselves. Harshvardhan Soni, a 16-year old boy of the Jain community, was on fast for 11 days earlier. He said he would like to emulate Aradhana but, at the same time, he commented that dying the way the girl did is waste. Soni found fault with Aradhana’s parents for allowing her to go on fast. The Jain community has been holding camps at Jain Sthanak at Kachiguda and other places in city. The Jain way of life is being taught in these camps. Soni is one of those who have been attending the camp at Kachiguda Jain Sthanak. Glorifying Aradhana’s death would have serious repercussions.  Youngsters who are attending these camps are made to believe that Aradhana is worth emulating and the way she chose would take the tapasvis straight to heaven.

According to Achuta Rao, a child rights activist, Aradhana was forced to undertake the ritual of fasting  by parents and the elders of the community as Choumaas is considered to be auspicious time for the Jain community. Rao was the person who lodged a complaint with the police saying that a minor girl was forced to go on fast which resulted in her death. Lata Jain, a journalist and social activist, who helped the reporters in knowing the facts of the case was accused by the elders of Jain community of maligning them since she was not invited to the ceremony. Lata said she was only acting out of a sense of rage because the girl’s right to live was violated and she was allowed to die unnecessarily. Critics say the parents of the girl should be given an exemplary punishment so that no one in future would encourage youngsters to undertake such a fast in the name of rituals.

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