Family Drowns 5-Year-Old in ‘Healing River’ to Cure Cancer
Tragedy struck in India when a five-year-old boy, diagnosed with terminal cancer, was drowned as his family tried to cure him with water from the River Ganges, Daily Mail reports Thursday.
According to the report, the child died after being held under water for too long in the river.
The family had reportedly travelled from their home in Delhi to Haridwar on Tuesday to perform the ceremony and pray for the unnamed victim.
Their taxi driver said the child was accompanied by his parents and a female relative identified as his aunt by local media, NDTV.
The driver said the boy looked ‘extremely unwell’ and that doctors in the capital had given up on trying to save him, which led the family to take more desperate measures.
Bystanders watched as the family held the child underwater in hope of finding a ‘miracle cure’. They reportedly told the family to stop as they continued to hold the boy under the water.
Some intervened when the family refused and pulled the child out of the water. The child was taken to hospital where doctors formally announced he had died.
According to the local media, the parents were chanting prayers as his ‘aunt’ held him under the water. In one video, the boy’s ‘aunt’ was also seen calling out that the child will come back to life.
The report disclosed that the Haridwar City Police Chief, Swantantra Kumar, said “It appears that they brought the boy here because they believed that Ganga snan [cleansing] would cure him.”
The police added that the family members were all taken into custody for questioning.
According to Daily Mail, the River Ganges, with a central role in India’s founding history, has lasting religious and cultural significance to Hindus.
The river is believed to have spiritual properties, capable of washing away sin and to absorb impurities. Dying on the banks of the river, or being cremated nearby, is also said to ensure instant salvation.