Monday, 30th October 2017

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'Ghost' fear shuts down school

A residential school for tribal girls has been closed since past three days for the scare of "ghosts" at Bayapandadar village under Banshapala block in the district.

By Our Correspondent in Keonjhar
  • Published 2.08.18
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SPOT OF BOTHER: School officials talk to the parents of students outside the residential school in Koenjhar district. Telegraph picture

Keonjhar: A residential school for tribal girls has been closed since past three days for the scare of "ghosts" at Bayapandadar village under Banshapala block in the district.

With apparition fear haunting them, over 200 inmates of the school hostel have left for safety of their respective homes.

Authorities are in a spot of bother as the fear has led to the shutdown of the school. They, however, have launched a drive to sensitise the parents and guardians to send their wards back to school.

The residential school has strength of 204 girl students, all from the scheduled tribes community. On last Sunday, around four inmates developed nausea and fell unconscious. They started acting hysteric and shouted at the top of their voices. Some eyewitnesses said the students started showing abnormal behavioural instinct.

"As the news spread, parents and guardians rushed to the school on Monday morning to take their wards back home. They were under the firm impression that ghosts had cast their evil spirit on the children. Despite best efforts by the school authorities, the dogmatic parents could not be convinced. As a result, the children have left the hostel, leading to the undeclared closure of the school for the past 72 hours," said district welfare officer Pradyumna Kumar Das.

The four children, who had displayed unusual behaviour, were medically examined on Monday.

However, they were found to be in perfect health condition. "No disease or any form of infection was detected in them," said Das.

The children might have come under the grip of fear psychosis or hysteria, Das said quoting health officials

The guardians and parents were invited and were imparted counselling in a meeting held on Tuesday. "We tried to prevail upon them that no such thing as ghost or evil spirit ever existed. However, they were unbending and stuck to their superstitious belief. As desired by them, the school authorities have been asked to organise a specific religious ritual that is widely prevalent in tribal communities to ward off evil spirit," he said.

"We are hopeful that the school would reopen in a day or two," he said.