If one or both of the boy's parents are harming the children for sympathy or attention, it could be a case of a psychological disorder called Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in which a person (typically a parent or caretaker) acts as if a child has an illness, or in some cases may actually harm the child.
Did Spontaneous Combustion Kill a Man?
Mother Kills Autistic Son to End Fictional Abuse
Shanmuga Velayutham of the Legal Resource Center for Child Rights said he believed that the family was injuring the child "to get sympathy and benefits from the government," noting that in 2013 when they claimed their son Rahul was a victim of spontaneous human combustion, the story made news around the world and garnered economic support from the government and others -- including financial assistance and a new home.
Why would the family need a new home? According to one early theory the boy's burns could have been caused by dried cow dung which was present in the family's rural hut and contains phosphorous, which has a low ignition point and might have ignited. A new, dung-free home was provided to them. However this explanation, as well as spontaneous human combustion, has largely been discarded in favor of a far more likely, mundane, and tragic cause: parental abuse.