Police in southern Hyderabad are investigating the parents of a 13-year-old girl who died after undertaking a religious fast for 68 days.
The parents are insisting their daughter, Aradhana Samdariya undertook the fast voluntarily as prescribed in Jainism.
The BBC reports that the girl lived on boiled water for 68 days, and two days after she stopped fasting, she died of cardiac arrest.
"The parents - Laxmi Chand and Manshi Samdariya - have been booked under culpable homicide [causing death by negligence] and Juvenile Justice Act [cruelty against minors]," a police spokesperson told the BBC.
The parents have denied they forced her to fast and claim they asked her to stop early.
"She asked permission for upvaas [fast that involves renouncing food]. We asked her to stop after 51 days but she would not give up. Her fast was voluntary. No one forced her," Mr Samdariya said.
Social activists have condemned the practice of religious fasting in India and claim the family were advised she should fast to help the family’s jewellery business.
"The entire nation should be ashamed that such a practice still exists. Her father's guru advised the family that if she fasted for 68 days, his business would be profitable," activist Achyut Rao told BBC Hindi.
"The girl was made to drink only water from sunrise to sunset. There was no salt or lemon or anything else."
"You cannot put the burden of religion on a child; it mars the child's thinking. The family has the custodial responsibility of the child. In this case, it clearly failed to guide Aradhana. We need to go slow on such practises," Child rights activist Isidore Phillips told First Post.