For the last three days, two families in Kulhuari village in Rewa district, 530km from here, have been living in mortal dread. Fires, completely unexplained and unexpected, have broken out in the adjoining houses of two farmer brothers multiple times since Friday, burning up clothes, furniture and other household items.
On Monday itself, fire broke out several times at the house of Raghvendra Singh Gaharwar, 54. Twice, the clothes worn by his daughter-in-law Meenu caught fire. Interestingly, only the clothes burned, but Meenu did not suffer any burn injuries, eyewitnesses told HT.
On Friday and Saturday, similar incidents were reported from the house of Indrapal Singh, 58, Raghvendra’s elder brother. Suitcases and wooden bed-boxes were among household items that caught sudden fire in the two houses.
"The incidents have started suddenly and there is sheer panic amongst the womenfolk who are refusing to stay inside the house," Indrapal Singh said, while talking to HT on telephone.
"We did not believe the occurrences when the family reported them initially, but on Monday I visited the house of Indrapal myself and the sofa-set that I was sitting on suddenly caught fire. We rushed out of the house in panic," local resident Mrigendra Singh said.
Since the incidents are occurring frequently with no known inflammable source nearby, the locals have started believing that it was due to "anger of resident spirits" in the house.
"It seems that Baram baba (resident spirit for the family) is angered by something. We would have to consult the local priest to resolve the matter," Raghvendra Singh said.
Geologists, however, seek to explain these incidents in a scientific manner.
DC Gupta, head of department of Geology at Barkatullah University, Bhopal, said though he has not witnessed the incidents, there could be a proper geological reason for it.
Rewa district collector Rahul Jain told HT that he had sent local administrative officers to look into the matter and he would seek detailed report from them soon.