A seven-year-old boy has been forced to marry a female dog in a rural Indian village because his horoscopes foretold his first wife would die young.
Mukesh Kerayi had also grown a tooth in the upper part of his mouth – which, according to traditional tribal beliefs in Jharkhand, India – is bad luck.
So with all signs pointing to an ominous future, the family made him marry a dog so it would officially become his first wife.
Despite government efforts to the contrary, many of the region’s tribal communities still follow horoscopes and other superstitions religiously.
For the big day, the family dressed the dog in a bridal outfit and the village turned out for the celebrations just like a normal wedding.
They danced and cheered as though it was Mukesh’s real life wedding, it was claimed.
His grandfather, Ashok Kumar Leyangi, 43, said: ‘We believe the marriage will ward off any bad omen attached the boy.
‘This is traditional practice in our tribal community and we still believe in these old customs. We feel that it is our adult responsibility to keep our children safe and happy this way.’
These marriages usually take place between January 15 and January 21 each year.
But the government in India is still trying to educate rural and tribal communities that these acts of superstition are wrong.
The family added the dog is now back on the streets and is not living at their home.