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Cigarette barbarity for Down’s syndrome

Srinagar, Jan. 24: A two-year-old with Down’s syndrome is battling for life after being allegedly burned with cigarette butts by a woman faith healer who inflicted the torture in the name of curing him.

“I was shocked to see fresh scars of burning by cigarette butts on the child’s tummy. I counted 11 such scars on his body and there were several others that were caused several months back. This shows he has been going through this for quite some time,” said Dr Abdul Rasheed, the paediatrician treating the child.

The burning continued over months on the toddler, born to poor and illiterate parents from Kangan in central Kashmir, Rasheed said. Other doctors recalled having come across several similar cases of torture inflicted by peers, spiritual leaders often involved in occult practices.

In this case, too, the parents have not approached the cops so far. “No case has been registered as the family is unwilling to approach the police. In fact, they virtually worship her (the faith healer) and are not willing to name her,” Rasheed said.

The family has admitted taking the boy to the woman peer in Bonigam village, not far from their home in Murgund village in Kangan.

But Rasheed said the family was reluctant to reveal the ordeal to avoid landing the woman in trouble.

Down’s syndrome is a congenital disorder marked by mental retardation, flat face and short height.