When a traditional healer burned hot clay into the chest of two-year-old Kushbu Lal, she died. Now moves are afoot to criminalise a practice that continues to cost lives
Jamna Lal shifts uncomfortably on his ancient charpoy bed, seemingly unable to comprehend that he may have been responsible for the death of his two-year-old daughter. He thinks for some time and eventually nods his head. “Yes, I’m also responsible. I decided to take her to the bhopa instead of the hospital, and I must suffer the consequences.”
Lal’s daughter, Kushbu, developed breathing problems in January last year. Like many families in villages around Bhilwara, in the southern Indian state of Rajasthan, he did not immediately think of taking her to the hospital.