Jain Leaders Say Don't Interfere With Our Religion After Girl Dies From 68-Day Fast

"Nobody has a right to interfere in our fundamental rights to practice our religion."

11/10/2016 12:05 PM IST | Updated 11/10/2016 12:51 PM IST

In the face of a national outcry over the death of a 13-year-old girl, who was made to fast for 68 days as part of a ritualistic practice, leaders of the Jain community have asked activists to back off and not interfere with their religion.

A first information report (FIR) has been filed against the parents of Aradhana, a class VIII student from Hyderabad, who was hailed as a "bal tapasvi" after she died, last week. Despite the FIR, the police have not yet decided whether to arrest them.

"Nobody has a right to interfere in our fundamental rights to practice our religion. The filing of cases against the parents of Aradhana amounts to interfering in the spiritual matters of the community," Jain guru Mangilal Bhandari said at gathering of religious leaders in Koti, a commercial suburb of Hyderabad, Hindustan Times reported.

Her family and those supporting them said that Aradhana was keeping well through out the fasting period, and she had done it voluntarily. "Unfortunately, she died," said Ashok Sanklecha, a Jain leader, HT reported.

NDTV previously reported that at least 600 people, including a local minister and a lawmaker, attended Aradhana's funeral hailing her as a 'bal tapasvi'.

Aradhana's parents run a jewelry store. "We did not hide anything. Everyone knew Aradhana was fasting. They came and took selfies with her. Now some people are pointing fingers at us for allowing her to fast for 68 days," her grandfather, Manekchand Samdhariya told NDTV, earlier this week.

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