In a horrific incident in India, a 4-month-old baby died after his family took him to a quack to treat his fever. 

The infant had been suffering from stomach pain, fever and cold for days. Despite being treated at several hospitals, the child's condition showed no improvement, the New Indian Express reported. On Friday, the infant's parents took him to a healer in Nabarangpur district in the state of Odisha.

According to local reports, the man branded the baby with a hot iron rod at more than 20 places on his body. 

The baby’s condition worsened and his family then admitted him to the community health centre (CHC) at Tentulikhunti. Dr. Sachikanta Lenka of the CHC told local media the child sustained serious burn injuries, and was later shifted to a different hospital where he died during treatment. Doctors said the superstitious belief had put the life of the infant in danger, the New Indian Express reported.

According to Daily Pioneer, the district administration had previously conducted a 68-day-long awareness drive in all the villages about traditional healers and quacks. 

In a similar incident in the state last year, a newborn child was branded with a hot iron rod by his superstitious parents. The 6-day-old baby was then rushed to the Umerkote Community Health Centre with 13 burn injuries on his body. Media reports said at the time the newborn baby had been crying a lot and his family thought he may be suffering from some serious illness. The family then decided to experiment with a “traditional superstitious treatment process” and branded the child.

Several people in India rely on occultist practices, especially in rural areas. In some extreme cases, people even take part in human sacrifice to fulfil their wishes. 

Last year, a woman set her 5-month-old baby on fire, which resulted in the child's death. The incident took place in a village in the state of Madhya Pradesh. According to media reports, the accused was mentally unstable and was being treated by a sorcerer. The woman was arrested after the child's grandmother filed a complaint saying the baby was set on fire as he was "crying a lot." The family of the accused said they suspect the woman killed her son as part of some "occult practice."

baby-1866623_640 (1) Representational image Photo: pixabay