Nainital school gets exorcists over, principal felt girls were possessed
After girls of a government high school in Bhimtal town of Nainital district were “possessed”, village and school management carried out ancestor worship to “cure”’ them. It prompted the education department officials to seek a report from block-level officers.
Chhatrapal Singh, principal in-charge of the school at Kairagaon in Okhalkanda block, said, “A class 7 student was possessed last Thursday and started doing bizarre activities like breaking chairs and shouting loudly.”
“When other girls tried to calm her down and offered water, the influence spread to them as well. Over the next 3-4 days, five girls were possessed. They started shouting loudly, dancing, jumping here and there,” he said.
Singh approached village head Madan Singh Nauliya as the “problem started worsening”. Nauliya said around 14 girls were “influenced” by Tuesday. The principal in-charge said: “They were crying loudly as they were scared looking at the other girls.” Reportedly, none of the boys studying in the co-ed school were affected.
A decision was taken by the village administration and school management to conduct ‘Jagar’, a form of ancestor spirit worship, in the school. ‘Jagariyas’, priests specialising in conducting Jagar, were called to the school and the ritual was performed on Tuesday.
Nauliya said: “The girls calmed down after Jagar was conducted. They also informed that there is a problem with a room which functioned as the classroom for standard 8. So as of now, a picture of Goddess Saraswati and a lit earthen lamp were placed in the classroom and it has been locked.”
Principal in-charge Singh said a vacant room of the school is being utilised for class 8 students. “Everything is peaceful now. We will wait till Sunday to see if any more such incidents take place. If everything is normal, a puja will be conducted in the locked room on coming Sunday to ensure no such incidents are repeated,” Singh said.
The school, with strength of 187 students, has been operational for decades but was upgraded to Class 10 in 2005. “When we asked the Jagariya as to why this incident took place now and nothing of this sort happened before, he told us that often spirits remain dormant for up to 20 years. He said even on the buildings constructed above a graveyard, the spirits may not cause any trouble for up to 14 to 20 years and reveal themselves only later,” the village head said.
District education officer Kamlesh Pal Gupta said, “We have also got to know about the incident and have sought a report from the block-level education officer in the matter.” Brij Mohan Sharma, a rationalist and scientist at Society of Pollution and Environmental Conservation Scientists, said these activities were completely illogical.
“These activities are generally psychological. Children either get influenced by films or TV serials and get impacted psychologically. We have seen that in many cases, children act that they have been possessed and do not even have any psychological effect,” said Sharma. “The principal in-charge is also condoning such activities. An educated individual should have the sense to distinguish between superstition and facts.”