A couple are facing charges of child cruelty after sending their 11-month-old baby daughter on a petrifying solo parasailing ride.
The astounding scenes were captured at Muzhappilangad Beach in the south-western region of Kerala, at an event organised by a local aero-sports society.
First, the wailing baby was strapped into a parachute attached to a jeep, before the vehicle sped off, dragging the distressed child high into the air.
The little girl, named as Niya Nizam, hangs in the sky, suspended from the parachute. Finally, after about 30 seconds, she is lowered to the ground.Video footage shows Niya's parents ignoring her obvious distress, smiling as they fasten her into the parasailing harness. Amazingly, the pair appeared completely at ease with their extraordinary behaviour, happily chatting with TV crews there to film the aero-sports display.
"This is nothing big as is feared," the mother of the terrified girl told one news channel. "We thought she would be able to do it and decided to give it a try."
Her nonchalant attitude does not appear to be shared by those who witnessed the bizarre incident, however. Horrified onlookers told the New Indian Express that the child appeared to be crying as she was launched into the sky, and went on sobbing even when she was brought down.
Videos of the appalling stunt soon spread across Indian news outlets, with many expressing shock and outrage. Yahoo India reporters called the incident 'a case of utter callousness'.
The state's Human Rights Commission has now become involved, warning that the irresponsible pair could face a fine or six months' imprisonment if convicted of cruelty.
The human rights body named the parents as Safrina and Mohammed Nizam and said that the commission had would be investigating a complaint of child cruelty registered against the couple.
DIG Sreejith, the commission's Chief Investigation Officer, said that the child's parents are experienced flyers and had been keen to introduce their daughter to the sport, without properly considering the child's age.
Sreejith called the apparent lack of guidelines surrounding infant participation 'alarming'. The aero-sports society responsible for the event may also face investigation.