The parents of an Indian boy born with the arms, legs and buttocks of a parasitic twin protruding from his chest are searching for a doctor who can rid their son of the growing parasite.
The worshippers bring offerings of money and flower garlands to the seven-year-old in his village of Bihar, in north-east India, but the more sinister throw stones at the little boy in a bid to remove the devil from his tiny body.
“Every day I wish for a good doctor who could cure Deepak so he can live a normal life,” said his father Veeresh Paswaan.
The legs of the parasitic twin have grown at the same rate as Deepak, meaning the youngster is now carrying around a heavy weight.
Further up Deepak’s torso are the withered arms of the parasitic twin.
No X-rays or scans have been taken, so the internal effects of Deepak’s condition are not yet known.
The boy’s mother Indu, 28, and her husband earn less than £1 a day and cannot afford the expensive medical care needed to remove the extra limbs.
This is not the first case of a parasitic twin reported in Bihar.
In 2005 Lakshmi Tatma was born with a twin attached at her hips. Just like Deepak, she was worshipped as a incarnation of the multi-limbed Hindu goddess of wealth.
She shot to fame after Sharan Patil, a orthopaedic surgeon, performed a ground breaking 27hr operation to remove the twin. Laskhmi recovered , and is now walking and attending school.
Parasitic twins occur when the twin embryo does not fully separate in the womb. One twin becomes dominant at the expense of the other and the undeveloped twin becomes a parasite, completely dependent on the body functions of the living twin.