Big-Bang buzz around suicide - Police probe whether girl's death linked to doomsday fear

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By RASHEED KIDWAI in Bhopal
  • Published 10.09.08
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Bhopal, Sept. 10: A teenager apparently fed on rumours that the Big-Bang experiment would spell doom died after drinking pesticide last night but it was not clear if the scare drove her to suicide.

Suspense has deepened on whether Chhaya, from Asharita, 150km from Indore, was indeed the sole victim of the bizarre threats of the world “coming to an end” today.

Father Biharilal insisted the 16-year-old consumed the insecticide sulphos after spending hours watching TV programmes on the proton-collision experiment in Geneva.

“In the past two days, Chhaya had asked me and others about the world coming to an end on September 10. We tried to divert her attention and told her she shouldn’t worry about such mahapralay (doom).”

Villagers said the girl was initially taken to a hospital in Shajapur, 50km from her village, but was rushed to Indore when her condition started deteriorating.

A constable, Ravindra Yadav, posted at the Shajapur hospital claimed Chhaya had told him, as she was being wheeled in, that she drank the pesticide because of the doomsday predictions.

Chhaya died at Indore’s MY Hospital around noon today, minutes before scientists at the world’s largest particle collider fired the first protons into a 27km tunnel in Geneva to understand the make-up of the universe.

Sub-inspector S.H. Sharma found inconsistencies in Biharilal’s version. “Why were we not involved if she had consumed poison? Why was no local doctor or hospital consulted when her condition was deteriorating?” he asked before approaching Asharita sarpanch Makhan Lal to ascertain the facts and register a case.

Some villagers said Biharilal didn’t have cable TV connection at home but he claimed Chhaya watched television at their neighbours’ homes.

In Indore, police said they had registered a case and launched a probe.

Many channels have been showing live discussions over the past two days, some of them voicing fears the Geneva experiment could create anti-matter or black holes. The shows have generated a lot of interest.