Police say they did not intervene as it was a matter of ‘family faith’.
Mortal remains of a two-and-a-half-year-old boy were finally cremated in Odisha’s Ganjam district on Friday evening, four days after his death as his parents resorted to superstition to revive the dead child.
Sachidanand Sahu and his family had been performing puja since the night of September 4, keeping the body inside the hollow groove of a mango tree near their village Sundarpur hoping that the boy would come back to life.
Sahu’s only son Sainanda died while undergoing treatment at the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cutttack. His family members were all set to cremate him when one hand of the baby appeared to stir a bit.
“Some people at the crematorium suggested us to invoke deity Haraparbati near a mango tree in the neighbouring Nauli village,” said Bhagirathi Sahu, grandfather of the deceased.
The villagers ostensibly told the bereaved family that many such miracles had happened in the past and so they should also try their luck.
Sachidananda wrapped the body in a red cloth and followed several rituals for the four days. When officials of the Childline, an NGO that operates a telephone helpline for children in distress, reached the village to intervene, they were not allowed to go near the spot.
Villagers had claimed that it was a miracle in itself that the body did not decompose.
The local administration and police, however, chose not to intervene.
Ganjam SP Ashis Kumar Singh said police did not intervene as it was a “matter of family faith.”
“But the doctor said that the kid had died,” he said.
Such superstitious practice is not uncommon in the state.
Eight months ago, parents of a 10-year-old girl in Boudh district preserved her body in a cave near river Mahanadi for over a week hoping that she would come back to life.
Three months ago in Kandhamal district, relatives of a person who had died of snakebite called a sorcerer and practiced black magic on the body on the courtyard of a government-run district hospital.
In May last year, family members of a minor boy in Rayagada district, who was killed in lightning strike, applied cow dung paste on the body to bring him back to life.