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Horrific baby-throwing ritual in India

These horrific pictures show terrified toddlers being thrown from a roof before plummeting 15metres onto a bedsheet below.

The youngsters, who appear to be aged around two, can be heard screaming as they are dangled in the air before being dropped.

This particular ritual took place in the village of Harangal, Parbhani, in western India's Maharashtra.
Horrific baby-throwing ritual in India
Devotees at a shrine in Harangal village of Parbhani in western India's Maharashtra dangle the frightened looking baby 50 feet above the cloth sheet below


Horrific baby-throwing ritual in India
Then, arms and legs splayed out, the screaming baby is dropped...

Horrific baby-throwing ritual in India
..Landing safely on the sheet below

Hundreds of people turned out for the annual event, which is thought to have been followed by Hindus and Muslims for nearly 700 years in the belief the fall ensures good health and prosperity for their families.

After the child lands and bounces on the bed sheet, held taught by a group of around 14 men, he or she is then quickly passed through the crowd to their mothers.

Another ritual was taking place on the same day in Sholapur, about 280 miles south of Mumbai.
See video of the startling ritual here

It led to rights activist lashing out at officials who allowed the hundreds of infants to be dropped from the roof of the Baba Umer Durga mosque.

Local officials told television news stations Friday that there had been no reports of injuries.

With high child mortality rates, especially in India's rural areas, many people resort to rituals which they believe can ensure their children's health.Horrific baby-throwing ritual in India
Devotees dangle another baby over the edge of the shrine during the ritual, which has been taking place for 700 years

Horrific baby-throwing ritual in India
It's not just the drop that's dangerous: The babies are carried to the top of the shrine in bundles tied to the backs of dangling devotees

This shows the complete failure of the local administration to prevent this practice and to create awareness about children's health,' said Ranjana Kumari, a civil rights activist in New Delhi.

'It is also a reflection of the lack of access to health services, that forces people to behave in this irrational manner'.

India's National Commission for Protection of Child's Rights issued a notice Thursday to the local administration in Sholapur and has begun investigations into the practice.
Horrific baby-throwing ritual in India
A baby cries in terror - but he's safe on the ground now
Horrific baby-throwing ritual in India
Another baby is dangled over the edge shortly before being thrown for 'good prosperity'

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