Police said Monday they are investigating the parents of a teenage girl who died after fasting for 68 days in a religious ritual in southern India, an inspector said.
The 13-year-old girl's father denied allegations that his daughter was forced to fast as part of a ritual practiced by Jains, an Indian religion that preaches nonviolence.
"She wanted to become a Jain nun, and had gone on fast twice in the past," Lakshmi Chand Samdariya told The Associated Press. "She never faced any problem" before.
But two days after ending her latest fast, when she was on a liquid diet, "her condition deteriorated," Samdariya said. "We shifted her to a local hospital, where she was declared dead" on Oct. 3.
Police in the southern city of Hyderabad opened the case against the girl's parents after a complaint was filed by a children's rights association, Inspector M. Mattaiah said.
"This is an allegation, and we are investigating to establish the facts," Mattaiah said.