Father drops son on red-hot coal during Indian ritual


An Indian Hindu devotee drops his child as he falls while running on burning coals at the Maa Maariamma Mela event in Jalandhar, on June 12, 2016.
An Indian Hindu devotee drops his child as he falls while running on burning coals at the Maa Maariamma Mela event in Jalandhar, on June 12, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

JALANDHAR (AFP) - A six-year-old Indian boy was rushed to hospital with serious burn injuries after his father dropped him on hot coals during a Hindu ritual, a doctor said Monday (June 13).

The father was walking barefoot with his son Kartik in his arms on the red-hot embers when he lost his balance and fell during the ritual on Sunday, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

Bystanders rushed to the rescue and took Kartik to hospital after other family members refused to accompany him, saying they had faith in God to heal him.

"The boy was admitted last (Sunday) night in the emergency ward. He has burn injuries on his limbs and on one side of his trunk," doctor Jangpreet Singh told AFP.

"The father has also sustained about 15 per cent burns. I think it will take at least five to seven days for their wounds to heal."

In one of the pictures Kartik, wearing marigold garlands and a white vest, can be seen screaming in pain as those around him try to pull him out.

Around 600 devotees had gathered in Jalandhar city in northern Punjab state for a festival in honour of the goddess Maa Maariamma.

Devotees must fast for seven days before walking on the burning coals in the ancient Hindu practice aimed at appeasing the deity.

Three years ago a mother carrying her daughter slipped and fell on the hot surface, also during the Jalandhar ritual.