A heartbreaking video has shown the moment little children were forced to swallow live fish as part of a ritual thought to ease breathing problems in India. A crowd of 100,000 people gathered at Hyderabad's Exhibition Ground to take part in the ritual. It's gathered that Indians of all ages participate in the annual ceremony in which they must eat the wriggling fish. Sufferers gather every June in the southern city to gulp down the fish stuffed with a yellow herbal paste, in the hope that it will help them breathe more easily.
Administered by the Bathini Goud family, the therapy is a secret formula of herbs, handed down by generations only to family members. The clip shows the wriggling fish being marinaded in the paste, before members of the Goud fmaili stick their fingers down people's throats to make sure the fish goes down.
Those administering the treatment often clamp their hands over their mouths and noses afterwards to force them to swallow, sometimes giving their neck a quick massage afterwards to help ease the discomfort. The family, who will not reveal the secret formula of the yellow paste, claim it was received from a Hindu saint in 1845.
In the clip, one boy is heavily scolded and smacked as he runs away in order to avoid having to swallow a fish. The herbs are inserted in the mouth of a live sardine, or murrel fish, and the wriggling 5cm fish are slipped into the patient's throat, often leaving them retching.
The family maintains the fish clear the throat on their way down and permanently cure asthma and other respiratory problems - if the treatment is administered three years running. After digesting the treatment, patients are told to go on a strict diet for 45 days.
Thousands of people travel from across India for the free medicine during a two-day period, the specific dates of which are determined by the onset of the monsoon every June.
Watch the sickening video below: