Sunday, February 5, 2012

Child sacrifice to gods still in vogue in India


It is a strange story to believe that some Indians still continue to sacrifice children to their gods to achieve their blessings for better prospects in life! It indeed appears unbelievable and nerve-shaking too to hear such things do happen even at the beginning of 21 century. In fact, it did happen in the Indian province of Chhattisgarh where a seven-year old girl named Lalita Tati was murdered by two Indians and her liver was offered to their gods, believing it would bring them better harvest.

According to media reports, the body of the murdered girl Lalita was found in October last, one week after her parents reported her missing to the police. However, the outside world came to know about this in the first week of January. Perhaps interested quarters somehow managed to keep it from being published in the media.

Deeply superstitious
The media reports also pointed out that in 2010, two children were sacrificed in the same Indian province Chhattisgarh where Lalita was killed in the name of religion in October 2011. The report further says that in 2010, the mutilated body of a factory worker was found in a temple in West Bengal which is also one of the progressive provinces in India. It shows that the illiterate and poorer section of the Indians are still groping in the black hole of superstition and wrong interpretation of religion, as taught by the interested religious leaders. In fact, some Indians, because of their simplicity and deep religious belief, have been following the centuries-old tradition that had been coming down from generations without any serious efforts to free them from their wrong notion. So it does not make any difference whether such crimes are committed in Chhattisgarh, or West Bengal. As a foreign news agency notes what still happen in the “deeply religious and superstition India”, when, “human sacrifices occasionally makes headlines” and usually occurs in poor areas where “some people sever, practitioners of black magic.”

So abduction of children or stealing of new-born babies, to offer them as ‘sacrifice’ to the gods by the Hindus in India is not a new thing. It is a tradition being followed by them as part of socio-religious life. It is said that the Indians of ancient days never heard of or engaged in ‘secularism’ that gives a new light of life, leaving religion to teach and spread other noble lessons for people to follow, abandoning the wrong teachings in the name of religion.

Akbar’s legacy
It may be recalled here that the Indians came to know what ‘secularism’ is and how it separates the ancient religious life, when Mughal Emperor, Akbar the Great, introduction ‘secularism’ as part of administration and political life, by appointing highly qualified Hindu personalities in his army and civil administration. That is why Akbar the Great is known as the father of secularism in India. But Emperor Akbar was not able to free the Indians from following their tradition of ‘child sacrifice’ to gods. Even during the British rule of India over two centuries, the system continued unobstructed, although a number of social reforms were introduced during this period. Perhaps the British rulers kept away, giving the people full freedom of following the prevailing socio-religious practice. However, a great Indian personality, basically a Bengali, Michael Madhusudhan Dutta, took bold steps to stop the burning of the widows alive along with the dead bodies of their husbands during cremation. Also he strongly advocated the remarriage of the widows, instead of forcing them to live a widow’s life for ever.

The Bangladesh scene
Now let us come to Bangladesh as we are in closest neighbourhood of India where we have seen how brutal killings continue of children for sacrifice to their gods for better prospects in life. The Hindu citizens of Bangladesh seem to be far advanced then their counterparts in India. In Bangladesh, they are seldom found or caught in the killing of children as ‘sacrifice’ to their gods for receiving blessings. But the brutal crime – if not for killing but for financial gains – of abduction of children and stealing of new-born babies from hospital beds, seemingly has changed hands and purposes as the crime is going from bad to worse. Nobody knows when it would end unless the government takes firm actions to end such crimes.

According to a latest media report, the police had arrested a number of child abductors in different districts, rescuing three abducted child in Mymensingh and Gazipur districts. The police also arrested a female member of the gang and rescued a child from her possession. According to police report, the abductors seem to be running their ‘business’ of selling children in a planned way. The woman abductor arrested in Mymensingh introduced herself as a school teacher and later abducted a seven year old girl, named Afrin Iqbal, when she was playing with other children near her house. The police report further says that the child abductors go to different villages and abduct children in guise of ‘development workers’ of some insurance companies. The police department now knows all about the ‘operation’ of these criminals, they are now expected to launch their ‘operation’ to arrest these criminals for proper punishment. Otherwise, this ‘crime’ of child-lifting would spread like another phase of ‘corruption.’

Capital punishment
It is reported that most of the abducted children and stolen new-born babies are sold at high prices to those who have no children. But there is no guarantee that these children would not be smuggled across the border for higher prices? However, the people will wait to see how the government tackles this growing crime and what punishment is awarded to the criminals who had already been arrested to show to other criminals to refrain from such heinous crimes. The government should, therefore, award heavy punishment, preferably capital punishment to these criminals, instead of a mere ‘white-wash’ in the name of trial. Let us hope for the best.
BY :  A M M Shahabuddin.