A woman has been arrested and her husband booked for allegedly burying their four-year-old daughter alive. The incident took place in Chaudharpur village of Moradabad district in Uttar Pradesh.

According to police, the couple buried the girl in the courtyard of their house in the village.

The police arrested the mother, Meena, after recovering the body of the deceased girl, Tara. The post-mortem confirmed her death due to suffocation, which indicates she was buried alive. The girl was suffering from malnutrition, said the police.

They have registered a case of murder against Meena and her husband Anandpal after recovering Tara’s body from their home.

Moradabad Senior Superintendent of Police J Ravindra Gaur confirmed the arresting and said the family “is very poor” living in abject poverty. According to the police, the couple’s other three children are also suffering from malnutrition as they don’t have food to eat.

The police have not arrested Anandpal saying sending both parents to jail would have an adverse effect on the lives of the three children. The legal proceedings would be carried out because they were “bound by law”, said Gaur.

The matter came to the notice of the police when one of the three children told friends in school about the incident. The students had first told teachers about it and they immediately informed the villagers, who alerted the police. The police started investigation during which Tara’s body was recovered from the courtyard of the house.

Sources said Meena told the police during interrogation that they buried the girl on the advice of a tantrik who told them that it would help them get rid of the rickets disease the other children were suffering from. Meena is pregnant with her fifth child.

The SSP, however, denied this saying an investigation was still on and the family had not divulged any information about tantrik so far.