Frightened villagers of Damdami are planning to leave their homes after there were several unexplained and mysterious incidents of fire breaking out in houses, school and even trees in the last fortnight. Sub-divisional magistrate (Rajpur) JS Boriya said frequent fire incidents had been reported in the village and that the district collector had been informed.
Damdami has a population of around 700 people and houses about 125 families. It is situated 40 km away from the Barwani district headquarters under Siwai panchayat of Rajpur sub-division.
The incidents have scared the living daylights out of villagers, many of whom are keeping their household goods outside their houses. Some are even planning to leave the village as they are convinced that it is the act of some spirit or ghost. They even hired a 'tantrik', but to no avail.
One of the villagers Ter Singh said the fire broke out in his house but he was clueless about how it started. Many villagers are having sleepless nights and have informed the administration about it.
Another villager Sitaram said the fire started in his house on December 28. Another victim Lalita Bai claimed she had lost all her grains and food items in the fire.
SDM (Rajpur) JS Boriya rushed to Damdami on Friday along with a team. He said on Friday, the school bag of a student of Government Primary School caught fire during recess. The headmasters and others rushed to extinguish the fire but some of the books were destroyed by then. A file of the school headmaster also started burning in his room, Boriya said.
On Saturday, students refused to enter the class rooms and teachers were forced to hold classes in the open.
Boriya said on December 28, television and other household items were burnt when fire broke out in two houses. He said the incidents occured only during the daytime. Boriya admitted that people believed it to be an act of spirit but he did not rule out mischief by unidentified persons. He said the intensity of fire in all cases was controllable. The administration has made a water tanker available, he said.
The SDM said district collector Ravindra Singh had been informed and inquiry was on. Collector Ravindra Singh said a joint strategy with the police was being worked out.