A team of administration and doctors visited a government school in the Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand, a day after a couple of female students were spotted shouting, crying, and behaving abnormally. The incident has left the education department in a tizzy.
News18 team visited remote Raikhuli village in Bageshwar to understand what exactly happened. Vimla Devi, head teacher of the junior high school told that the ‘abnormal’ activity among students was first reported this Tuesday when a few girl students and a male student behaved in a typical manner.
“They were crying, shouting, shivering, and even trying to bang heads for no reason. We called parents, they summoned a local priest and this is how the situation came under control” told teacher Vimla Devi. She said the incident repeated again on Thursday.
Few students in a govt school in Bageshwar dist of #Uttarakhand on Wednesday suddenly started screaming and shouting. Some beleieve it’s a “mass hysteria" phenomenon. A team of doctors will visit school today. pic.twitter.com/htsFjrcC0Y— Anupam Trivedi (@AnupamTrivedi26) July 28, 2022
“Even today, when departmental officials were here, some students behaved in the same manner. Parents insisted that we perform pooja inside the school campus. They believe school is doomed” said the teacher adding “we would do anything be it consulting doctors or taking help of faith healers so that everything becomes normal”.
A student named Komal Rawat believed that the damp and dark classrooms add to the horror.
It is yet not clear ‘on record’ what made students disturbed. However, physiatrists feel it seems to be a case of ‘mass hysteria. Dr. Jaya Nawani, a physiatrist with Doon Medical College underlined such cases of ‘mass hysteria’ are apparently directly associated with social developments shaping around students.
“For instance, faith healing is a common practice in parts of hills and this could leave an impact on the brains of children who often experience such practices in day-to-day life” explained Dr. Nawani.
Chandan Rawat, a member of the district panchayat in Bageshwar agreed such cases could be termed ‘mass hysteria. He claimed in past similar incidents were reported in a few other schools in the district.
Mukul Sati, a senior official with the education department in Dehradun said the Bageshwar incident is not an isolated case as the department had received similar reports from other schools from Chakrata (Dehradun) and Uttarkashi.
“We have decided to form a medical team which will visit government schools across the state in an attempt to allay fears among students,” Sati told News18.
— With inputs from Sushmita Thapa in Bageshwar & Bharti Saklani Uniyal in Dehradun