A village panchayat in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul district has directed villagers not to eat fried food for 45 days if they want to save their cattle from unnatural death.
Call it superstition or occult science, over 1,000 residents of Medhapani village in Betul district, are following the diktat and claiming that after observing the same for some days, the incidents of cattle death have drastically reduced.
But, others say that the villagers are following it as the panchayat has threatened to slap a Rs 5,051 fine on the violator. At least four villagers have been fined for the violation.
But how did the panchayat decide to impose the strange diktat?
According to villagers, even healthy cattle had been dying for the past one month in the village which made them fear that misfortune might befall them.
Taking cognizance of their concern, the panchayat consulted village occultist Duggi Bhagat about three weeks ago for a remedy.
At Bhagat’s advice, the panchayat on July 13 issued the diktat that no one would eat fried and non-vegetarian food for 45 days, said village Sarpanch Rajesh Dhruve, adding that nobody objected to the same as it was meant for everybody’s welfare.
He said the money collected from the violators as fine would be used in special pujas at the temple of the village deity.
Villager Dhanraj Shekhar said they supported the panchayat’s decision as they didn’t have any problem with the same. “Since we have stopped eating fried foods, cattle are not dying. It means there was something. And, we will continue this practice of eating boiled food up to August 20,” he said.
Other villagers like Dharamdas Uike, Mandarji Dhruve, Shivlal Barkade seconded Shikar’s submission and added that for school-going children the lunch pack was obtained from a dhaba outside the village.
Bharkade said, “I don’t believe in superstition. But, since our elders and all others have taken this decision, I too have no objection following it.”