Family of 10 stable after fasting for 30 days at Ajmer

The condition of 10 members of a family from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh who were fasting for the last over 30 days at Sufi saint Hazrat Chisti`s dargah in Ajmer is stable, a police official said.

Last Updated: Oct 12, 2010, 12:36 PM IST

Ajmer: The condition of 10 members of a family from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh who were fasting for the last over 30 days at Sufi saint Hazrat Chisti`s dargah in Ajmer is stable, a police official said. Three members of this family died of starvation Monday at the dargah.

"The family members are being provided medical treatment and care by a team of doctors and as per our information all of them are showing signs of improvement," HP Sharma, Ajmer superintendent of police, said.

The family of 13, including two children aged 2 and 3, was fasting for the last over 30 days in Dargah Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, fondly known among devotees as Garib Nawaz.

Sharma said initially they resisted the treatment but members of dargah committee, doctors and administrative officials persuaded them and the treatment commenced from Monday night.

"Whether this family goes back to their native place is hard to say as of now", he said.

"No one knew that they were on a fast. If we had known this, then we would have tried to persuade them not to do so," a dargah official said Tuesday. "This is probably the first time such an incident has happened at the dargah," he added.

He said that this family was living in a nearby lodge and would visit the dargah during the prayer time.

"They had come here with an intention to fast for at least 40 days and according to our information they had already done so for over 30 days," the dargah committee official said.

"Their condition started to deteriorate Monday and we came to know about it when some of the family members suddenly collapsed in the dargah premises. We rushed them to a hospital where three members - Maisarjahan aged about 20, Nausher aged 17, and Mohammad Salaam aged 14 - were declared dead by the doctors and the condition of the rest 10 members was found serious," he added.

The head of the family, Mohammad Mustafa, aged around 59 years, is a retired merchant navy officer. He undertook the fast to ward off the effects of "black magic" which he alleged his brother had cast on his family.

"We were facing a lot of trouble since the past 4 years because of some black magic and witchcraft that was performed on my family. Once in a dream, I was advised by a sage to fast for 40 days to ward off the black magic. So, we came to the dargah for the fast, consuming nothing but water," Mustafa told the police.

"Even after the death of three, the family was bent upon completing the ritual. However, we and the doctors pressurised them to undergo treatment. They have now started to show signs of recovery," the dargah official said.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti was a Sufi saint who came to Ajmer from Persia in 1192. Chisti`s dargah is one of the most important pilgrimage centres in India, visited by millions of people from all religions.

IANS