Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Nabarangpur, Jan 25:
The nine-day-old baby admitted to hospital in a critical condition after being allegedly branded with hot glass bangles died at the district headquarters hospital in Odisha’s Nabarangpur in the wee hours today.
The newborn girl, who had suffered serious burn injuries after allegedly being branded with a hot object by a traditional healer on Sunday at Goramba village under Jharigaon block in the district, died of septicaemia this morning.
The baby had breathing problems in difficulty in suckling following which her parents –Budu Kalar and Bindu Kalar– believing it to be work of evil spirits had taken her to a witch doctor who branded the baby with hot glass bangles while assuring that it will cure her illness.
However, her condition deteriorated and she was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition.
The minor was admitted to the sick newborn care unit (SNCU) of the hospital. Despite best efforts of the paediatricians at the hospital, the baby could not be saved. She breathed her last in the wee hours today.
Meanwhile, the district Collector has formed a five-member committee to probe into the incident.
On the other hand, the accused quack–Kusumati– was today arrested after the father of the deceased filed a complaint with the Umerkote police against her.
Notably, witchcraft and other superstitions still rule the roost in tribal-dominated districts in the state due to lack of awareness and illiteracy. Though this form of treatment i.e, branding a child to cure of ailments, has no medically proven record, poor people look up to quacks and traditional healers for medical aid.
It may be recalled that a 22-day-old baby boy was been admitted to Jeypore sub-divisional hospital in a serious condition after he was branded with hot iron rods all over his body on the advice of the local healer in Koraput district to cure ailments. The incident had taken place at Jhariguda village in Borigumma block earlier this month.
In another incident, a quack was arrested last month in Nabarangpur district on charges of branding a 28-day-old baby. The incident had taken place at Butipadar village under Papadahandi block when an anganwadi worker called the quack—Purushotttam Ghasi—from a nearby village to treat her baby for abdominal pain.