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2014-02-06

ASIA/INDIA - Only education can defeat superstition and ensure full respect for life in all its forms

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - The National Day for Life has just been celebrated, to remind everyone of the tremendous value of life which is often, unfortunately, trampled and degraded. Too many times human beings are deprived of their rights and their dignity in the name of values dictated by ignorance and superstition. In many parts of India, especially in isolated rural villages, poverty drives many people to cling to superstition, which seems sometimes the only thing left to change or make living conditions more bearable. Though in many cases superstitions are harmless, in others the ingrained beliefs can lead to dire consequences. One of these is human sacrifice that, in some regions of the Asian country, is yet in place. In the most remote Indian villages, where the population lives in conditions of isolation, without access to basic services and education, the people, in a desperate attempt to escape from poverty, rely on holy men and healers who practice rituals linked to the local tribal traditions, but also black magic. The weakest and most innocent children, especially if female are those who pay the highest price. As reported by the Forgotten Brothers Foundation onlus, a 4-year-old was sacrificed to a deity by her parents to gain more wealth, a 7-year-old girl was killed by two farmers who subsequently removed her liver to use it in a propitiatory ritual. Bodies of children have been found buried near the altars of some sorcerer, surrounded by sacred objects. Women considered inferior compared to men in some villages are accused of witchcraft. An Indian NGO has recently denounced that every year, about 200 women are killed because they are believed to be witches, beliefs which are exclusively the result of ignorance. That is why the non-profit Forgotten Brothers Foundation considers education of vital importance. Thanks to their efforts many children can study, in order to make them responsible and respectful adults in the future. The Foundation is now present in India, Nepal, Northern Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua. (AP) (Agnezia Fides 06/02/2014)

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