In remote Sidhi district where superstition rules the roost, a number of tribals suffering from malaria these days are seeking cure through witchcraft. Given the situation, the witchcraft practitioners are having a hey day demanding cash and pooja articles from the patients and their relations.
The disease has claimed six lives in a week and the deceased include five children and a woman. They belong to three villages — Jhapari, Khajuria and Pathraula. As per a report reaching here, about 80 people of these three villages are suffering from malaria.
The situation is aggravated as the health department has failed to reach out to the tribals in remote areas and provide them proper treatment, allege the local residents.
A couple of days ago, the villagers took out a procession of local deities as per their rituals in a bid to pacify them and seek their blessings to cure them from the disease. They offered bangles and coconuts to the local deities.
"They are not getting a proper treatment. And even after such an alarming situation, the health department’s team has not visited these villages. The health department’s apathy is only adding to the superstitious belief of the tribals," said a local social worker Manoj Pandey talking to the HT.
He further said the villagers thought their deities were angry because of their misdeeds. Therefore, they were trying to pacify and please the deities.
"We have requested the health department officials and apprised them of the alarming situation. One day, a block medical officer (BMO) came to the villages and distributed some tablets among the affected villagers but this hardly worked," said another social worker Vipul Maravi.