‘Bal Tapasvi’ Aaradhana’s Case Closed By Police

‘Bal Tapasvi’ Aaradhana’s Case Closed By Police
(File Photo)

Lata Jain

I recently read the book ‘Being Mortal’ that talks about how modern medicine extends life, but many times at a huge emotional cost. This book talks about deviant more humane ways to deal with the last stage of life.

And then I got to know more about the practice of ‘Santhara’, a voluntary undertaking of a fast unto death by Jain community. A practice that my friend’s great grandmother undertook at the age of 108. I felt a practice that this friend’s great grandmother undertook at the age of 108 was a wonderful religious practice devised by the ancient seers to a challenge modern science is just starting to realize. 

This once again reaffirmed the knowledge and wisdom of our ancestors and tradition.

But as happens with many such traditions, they morph into a perversion that inflicts great pain on large sections of society, whether it is the caste system or the ban on women in many religious places or child marriages.

The recent tragedy of Aaradhana’s death due to a 68-day fast is another reminder of wisdom misinterpreted and imposed leading to pain. Unfortunately, in this case it is not just a matter of rights that had been transgressed but a young life snuffed out in the cause of false pride and beliefs.

Aradhana Samdariya, a class 8 student, died after 68 days of ritual fasting. The Hyderabad police have closed the case of Ardhana Samdariya, almost 4 months after her 68 days of fasting. The death of this minor has lead to national outrage and debate universally.

We found no evidence to state that the girl was forced to do “tapasya”.  we have gone though the investigation. We have taken the reports from the private hospital where Ardhana was brought dead. We have taken a second opinion from the authorities of Gandhi Hospital, Secunderabad .”, And we could not find any evidence to prove that her parents had forced her to do tapasya,” Hyderabad North Zone Deputy Commissioner of Police B Sumathi told Primepost.

What has further angered public is the celebration of her death with a ‘shobha yatra’, and calls to anoint her ‘bal tapasvi’. The yatra in Secundrabad was attended by hundreds of Jain community members, and her funeral conducted with religious fanfare.

“In cases of hunger strike also, the police shift people to hospitals after a few days to make sure they don’t die. This was just a 13-year-old girl. How can parents get away by saying the fast was voluntary, argues Achyut Rao, activists of Balala Hakkula Sangham, NGO fighting for child rights.

This is atrocious. Injustice. Instead of framing the charges against the parents under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC, the police has conspired with the Jain community and closed the case without proper investigation. We will continue the legal battle,” says child rights activists, Mrs.Anuradha of Balala Hakula Sangham

“Religious customs and beliefs do hold importance in an indivual lives and in our communities however such ancient practices should not take precedence over ones health especially health of a minor “says Dr.Mamtha Raghuveer of Tharuni, an NGO working for the betterment of girl child.

The constitunal right to practice religion as a group or as an individual is subject to public order and health,” says Narayana Of CPI, who has written to the chief Justice of India about Aaradhana’s case.

The Juvenile Justice system, depending on the jurisdiction, is not accomplishing its rehabilitative goals. Children are often being treated just like adults. Many are not receiving the zealous representation they deserve and are not informed on their rights. A child’s human rights should be considered as one of the most important causes for a society. By failing to implement a human rights framework to address children’s rights, we are failing our children as well as their future.

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