I am, frankly, speechless at this news.
Lust for wealth drove a poverty- stricken couple to sacrifice their own four-year-old daughter at a village in Uttar Pradesh’s backward Sitapur district, about 90 km from here.
The couple, identified as Srikrishna and Ramdevi, were told by a “tantrik” (exorcist) that they would become rich if they sacrificed their daughter, according to police sources here.
Acting on the advice of a “tantrik”, a “havana kund”(a pit in which the fire is lit and yajna is performed), was prepared in the courtyard of the couple for the rituals late on Monday night.
The parents then put their daughter Kanni into the pit amid chanting of “mantra” and lit the fire. The girl, who was also mercillessely beaten, was half buried in the pit.
The parents had stuffed a piece of cloth in the mouth of the little girl so that her cries could not be heard by any one in the village, sources said.
The badly burnt body of the girl was later buried on the same spot by digging a deep pit, sources said. The grandmother of the girl was also present during the rituals, sources said.
As terrible as this is, I'm forced to wonder: what, if any, ethical difference is there between the actions of the parents in this case, and the actions of parents who deny their children medical care out of religious devotion?* Things like this make me very, very sad.
* To answer my own question, I suppose that in the former case the parents knew that they were doing harm whereas in the latter the parents hypothetically believed they were doing the right thing. Still, I think the comparion raises some interesting, and hard, questions about the boundaries of religious freedom.