While doctors and scientists around the world are busy trying to find a cure to the deadly SARS-Cov-2 or coronavirus, villagers in a tribal-dominated village in Odisha seem to be sold on a natural but rather questionable solution - giving liquor to children.
Brewed from the fermented sap of the Salapa tree, the liquor was served to about a dozen adolescents aged 10-12 years at a wedding ceremony in Odisha's Parsanpali village in the Malkangiri district.
As per a report in Hindustan Times, Salapa brew is often drunk by elders in the Malkangiri district but it was usually not given to children. The locals believe that the drink will help protect children from catching coronavirus due to the presence of alcohol in it.
The two-weeks-old incident was captured on tape and the video has since gone viral. In the video, locals can also be seen flouting social distancing norms and not wearing masks.
Despite relentless efforts to spread awareness about #COVID19, superstitions about the virus still rule interior pockets in #Odisha. An incident from Malkangiri where children were seen consuming country-made 'salap liquor' to prevent SARS-nCoV infection is a testimony to it. pic.twitter.com/qAsRVRvLkm— OTV (@otvnews) July 21, 2020
The villagers are not the only ones to believe alcohol can keep coronavirus at bay. Last week, in a viral video, Congress leader Ravichandra Gatti, who belongs to Ullal city in Mangaluru, recommended rum and two half-fried eggs to beat the virus.
The incident in Odisha, however, has triggered an inquiry with District child protection officer Narayan Das reaching out to the vilagers and advicing them against the practice of feeding alcohol to children.