Superstition and blind belief on claims of saints led to the murder of a five-old boy in Uttarakhand's Haridwar. The boy was suffering from blood cancer, and his parents believed that the river Ganga would cure him. In the cruel winter in north India, the boy was submerged in the freezing river for several minutes, which resulted in his death.
The family, which lived in Delhi, left for Haridwar around 9 am on January 24. The cab driver said the child was accompanied by his parents and another woman relative. Some reports have identified her as the boy's aunt. The cab driver said the boy looked extremely unwell and the family had told him that he was suffering from cancer and doctors in Delhi had given up.
A disturbing video shows the parents of the boy chanting Hindu prayers while his aunt submerged him under the water. Some bystanders noticed that the boy was underwater for too long and started asking the family to stop.
When they did not, those gathered at the spot forcefully brought the boy out. The video shows the aunt responding aggressively and even trying to attack those pulling the boy out. The child was rushed to a hospital, where doctors declared him dead.
Another video shows the boy's aunt sitting next to the body and saying that she was sure that the child would come back to life.
Haridwar city police chief Swantantra Kumar said the family had told them that the boy was undergoing cancer treatment in a top Delhi hospital. The doctors had eventually given up and told them that their child could not be saved. The family believed that river Ganga can heal the boy.
"We are getting the reports from the Delhi hospital. But at this point, it appears that they brought the boy here because they believed that Ganga snan would cure him," he said.
The boy's parents and his aunt have been taken into custody for questioning, police said.