A man allegedly did not allow his newborn baby to be breastfed for a day after his birth on the advice of a religious preacher following which both men have been arrested in Mukkam about 30km from Kozhikode, police said.
On Wednesday, the wife of Omassery native Aboobacker Siddique gave birth to a baby boy at about 2pm at the EMS Cooperative Hospital in Mukkam. When the mother was asked by the hospital authorities to breastfeed her baby, Aboobacker prevented her from doing so, saying the baby cannot be fed until five calls for prayer are over after its birth.
The baby was breastfed only in the noon on the next day as Aboobacker did not yield to the doctors' request.
A complaint was registered on Friday by a nurse of the hospital following which an FIR was filed against Aboobacker (31) and one Hydrose Thangal (75), the preacher who is said to have counselled Siddique not to give breastmilk to newborns till five prayer calls are heard, Mukkam police said.
The duo have been arrested under sections 75 (cause unnecessary mental and physical suffering to child) and 87 (abetment of offence) of the Juvenile Justice Act, police said, adding, they will be produced before the court within 24 hours.
The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights had also directed the district police chief and the Mukkam police to register a case against the father for preventing his wife from breastfeeding of the child.
Kozhikode district collector N Prasanth who had ordered action against him, also decried the incident in a Facebook post, saying no religion asks a newborn baby to be starved and that the man who showed this cruelty and those who prompted him need "treatment".