The condition of Shefiq, the five-year-old boy undergoing treatment at St. Johns Hospital here after his father and stepmother allegedly tortured him, showed improvement on Sunday, hospital officials said.

Tracheotomy, a surgical procedure that allows a person to breathe without the use of the nose or mouth, has been done on him to ease breathing difficulties. The doctors said the surgery was done to reduce the risk of infection, as continuous ventilator support might cause infection.

Mostly off ventilator

Artificial breathing had been gradually stepped down to make the boy capable of breathing on his own. Only 20 per cent of the time he was on ventilator support.

His overall health condition has now improved from 35 per cent to 45 per cent, the doctors said. A CT scan has revealed a minor injury on the boy’s head, which is not of a serious nature, a doctor said.

Shefiq was brought to the hospital on July 15 with severe damage to his brain and other injuries, such as a fractured leg.

Protest by people

People came out in protest when his father, Shereef, and stepmother, Aneesha, were brought to their house at Onnammile for taking evidence. The Second Class Judicial Magistrate Court, Peerumade, on Saturday, released them in police custody for three days.

Many churches in Idukki held special prayer sessions on Sunday for the speedy recovery of the battered boy.