14/04/2006 18:57 – (SA)
Mumbai – A father handed his five-year-old son to a fake Hindu holy man for three days of torture in a failed money-making magic ritual, Indian police in Ahmedabad said on Friday.
The boy’s family claimed the father had been persuaded to hand over the boy for the Tantric rites, said to end years of bad luck, unemployment and make him some money.
Relatives stormed the alleged abuser’s home to rescue the child when his mother returned home and found her son missing.
Family members said they discovered the boy covered in bites, bruises and burn marks.
The boy, the oldest of the couple’s three children, said: "He told me that if I told anybody I was with him, he would put me on a sacrificial altar and kill me."
The family, from the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, have expressed disbelief that the boy’s father had handed over his son.
The man’s brother said the father of the boy was unemployed, but "he always wanted to get rich without much effort, we never believed he would actually give away his own son to fulfil his dream".
Indian police arrested the false holy man, Rafiq Sheikh, on Thursday to face charges of kidnap and assault.