Jeypore, Jan 8: Yet another infant has become a victim of superstition in Koraput district as the 18-day-old baby boy was branded with a hot iron object to cure his swollen abdomen.
The incident took place four days ago at Jodiguda village in Gujaniguda panchayat under Borigumma block but came to light Friday after the baby’s parents – Badi and Khagesh Harijan – brought it to the sub-divisional hospital here in a critical condition. The condition of the baby is now stable, according to hospital sources.
Reports said the couple resorted to branding after spotting the swollen belly of the baby, their first issue, on the suspicion that it was a case of a deadly disease. The baby’s condition gradually deteriorated and it even stopped sipping breast milk with burn injuries all over its body. Left with no option, the couple first took the infant to Borigumma community health centre (CHC) and later to the sub-divisional hospital. the baby has been kept in special newborn care unit of the hospital.
On the other hand, the opinion in the family was found divided as to who had branded the baby. According to a relative of the couple, the baby was born at Borigumma CHC. A local elderly woman was engaged to brand the baby after its belly was found swollen. However, the woman died after a few days, the relative said.
Meanwhile, the baby’s father Khagesh said he sent the baby to his in-laws’ place at Umerkote in Nabarangpur district after delivery. They branded the infant engaging a quack, he claimed.
The difference in opinions in the family has made the matter more complicated.
According to reports, the condition of two infants – one each in Nabarangpur and Malkangiri districts – turned critical last month after they were branded due to blind beliefs. Police arrested a quack in connection with the case of Nabarangpur, a report said. PNN