This is a representational image showing a witch doctor performing rituals on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Getty Images/Saeed Khan

A 14-year-old girl in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal underwent a surgery to have nine needles removed from her throat, which were reportedly inserted during an occult practice. According to local reports, doctors initially thought the girl had mistakenly swallowed the needles.

"It was later found out that the needles were actually inserted inside her throat from outside as a part of some kind of tantrik (occult) ritual," a senior doctor of the NRS Hospital in Kolkata said.

The team of doctors fought hard to save the girl's life during a more than three-hour long surgery.

According to the doctors, the family of the girl did not want to disclose how the needles reached her throat. The actual cause was discovered when the girl was questioned after she was able to speak following the surgery. The girl was reportedly an adopted child of a couple who had lost their son three years ago, the doctor who treated the teenager told local media NDTV.

"After their son's death, there was a change in the girl's behaviour. After that the couple started consulting a tantrik (a person who practices occult)," he said.

The girl's condition is no longer life-threatening, the doctor said, adding she will soon undergo mental counseling to recover from the shock of the incident.

Occult practice is common in India and has led to several people's deaths due to the superstitious beliefs. Last month, bodies were found of 11 members of a family in Delhi's Burari town. Police found diaries from the house having entries about strange "salvation rituals" for past 11 years. The diary notes claimed the family "planned deaths to ensure salvation of five wandering souls."

During Ramadan in June, a man slit his four-year-old daughter's throat as a sacrifice to "Allah" in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan.

There have been several other cases of human sacrifice in India. In May 2017, a man slit his 12-year-old son's throat and sliced his hands near a river to as a gratitude to God. The same year in August, another man sacrificed his 10-year-old son on the first day of Navratra — a nine-night Hindu festival celebrated in the autumn every year, to make the goddess Durga happy.

In November, a man killed his 13-year-old son and chopped off his genital in Chhattisgarh's Baloda Bazaar district after a witch doctor convinced him that sacrificing his son would solve all his problems.