Kolkata: Two children in West Bengal’s Malda district died after their parents took them to a local occultist instead of rushing them to the hospital when they complained of sickness.
The incident happened in Friday at Khodmalancha village in the Gazole area along the India-Bangladesh border, about 360km from Kolkata.
According to local reports, Safiqul (8) and Mohammad Firoz (5) were playing with their friends Kohinoor (6) and Shabnoor (8) in the locality on Friday. All of them complained of headache and giddiness after returning home around 6pm.
The concerned parents rushed to each other’s house in a bid to ascertain what could have gone wrong as all of them were fine earlier in the day.
When an alarm was raised in the neighbourhood, a villager said evil spirits might have taken control of the children’s bodies and suggested they be taken to the local ‘tantrik’ (occultist).
After taking some money as fee, the occultist started chanting mantras even as the children’s condition deteriorated further. Another villager then suggested that they be taken to the hospital immediately.
(TMC MLA Dipali Biswas meets the two children who are being treated at Malda hospital.)
Around 8.30pm, Mohammad Firoz was declared brought dead at the Malda College and Hospital, while Safiqul died on Saturday morning. Kohinoor and Shabnoor are undergoing treatment and their condition is stated to be stable.
Medical Superintendent and Vice Principal of Malda College and Hospital, Professor (Dr) Amit Dan, told News18, “The two girls are out of danger. We suspect the children might have consumed some poisonous thing while playing. It is very unfortunate that people still believe in the power of occultism. The two other children could have also survived had they been brought to the hospital on time.”
Trinamool Congress MLA Dipali Biswas, who visited the victims’ homes, said, “The parents told me ghosts killed their children. I told them not believe in such things. I have ordered an inquiry into the matter and asked police to arrest the ‘tantrik’. All this is due to poor literacy levels in the area. I have decided to launch a door-to-door campaign to create awareness on such issues.”
A senior police officer said, “We have registered a case against the tantrik. He is absconding, but hopefully he will be arrested soon.”
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