82-year-old woman dies after performing ‘Santhara’

Amid the controversy over ‘Santhara’, an 82-year-old woman, who publicly resumed the Jain religious ritual of voluntary fast unto death after the Supreme Court stayed ban on it by the Rajasthan High Court, passed away here today.

Badni Devi, who was on fast for over one month, breathed her last at 8 AM.

She quit food and was living only on little amount of water. She died in a way she had wished, family member Surendra Daga said.

“We pray for her soul. She died peacefully and it was the blessings of the God and we are happy at it,” he said.

Badni Devi, a resident of Gangashahar area, took the resolution of ‘Santhara’ on July 17 though the ritual was socially undertaken on July 25, Jain Mahasabha secretary of Bikaner Jain Lunkaran Chajed had said.

The octogenarian woman is survived by three sons, one daughter and grand children.

Earlier on August 10, when the Rajasthan High Court had held ‘Santhara’ as illegal making it punishable under section 306 and 309 of IPC related to abatement of suicide, she continued her fast albeit secretly and family members called it ‘tapasya’.

On August 31 the Supreme Court stayed the Rajasthan High Court decision declaring the religious ritual a penal offence.

Following the Supreme Court’s verdict, Badni Devi publicly resumed her ‘Santhara’.

Under the religious practice, the follower takes the vow to give up food and water as a way of embracing death.