An Indian boy with eight limbs, who was venerated as a god, has undergone an operation to give him a chance at a normal life.
Deepak Paswan, 7, was born with a parasitic twin conjoined to his abdomen, giving him four legs and four arms but one head.
Hindu pilgrims visited his home in the northern state of Bihar to worship him as an incarnation of the god Vishnu, often depicted with numerous limbs.
Deepak’s family, uncomfortable with the attention, appealed in March for help to pay for an operation to have the extra limbs removed and a hospital in the southern city of Bangalore offered to do the procedure for free.
"We always wanted surgery to remove the parasitic twin to get rid of him being treated as a religious object by people," his father, Viresh Paswan, said. "My dream has come true, now we will celebrate it after returning to my village."
Deepak’s story mirrors that of Lakshmi Tatma, a girl from Bihar, who was also born with four arms and four legs. She was successfully operated on in 2007 and is now thriving.
The Fortis Hospital in Bangalore said that a team of 15 doctors worked on Deepak’s case, and after months of consultations, went ahead with the complicated surgery.
“He is 100 percent fit,” said chief surgeon Ramcharan Thiagrajan, adding that doctors faced a challenge to ensure that his intestines functioned correctly in the long run.
“Due to all the mockery and stigma he has faced he is very restless and nervous. But now, after this successful operation and counseling, he will lead a normal life.”
A parasitic twin occurs when a twin embryo begins to develop in the mother but, ultimately, does not separate. This results in a semi-formed twin adjoined to the body of the developed twin.