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2 Children Die after Parents Take Them to 'Tantrik' for Exorcism Instead of Hospital in Malda

Trinamool Congress MLA Dipali Biswas talks to family members of the victims at Khodmalancha village in Gazole. (News18)

Trinamool Congress MLA Dipali Biswas talks to family members of the victims at Khodmalancha village in Gazole. (News18)

Four children were taken to an occultist after they complained of headache and giddiness. When their condition deteriorated, they were taken to hospital where one child was declared dead and another passed away hours later.

Kolkata: Two children in West Bengal's Malda district died after their parents took them to a local occultist instead of rushing them to the hospital when they complained of sickness.

The incident happened at Khodmalancha village in Gazole area along the India-Bangladesh border, about 360km from Kolkata, on Friday.

Local reports said Safiqul, 8, and Mohammad Firoz, 5, were playing with their friends Kohinoor, 6, and Shabnoor, 8, in the locality. All of them complained of headache and giddiness after returning home around 6pm.

The concerned parents rushed to each other’s house in a bid to ascertain what could have gone wrong as all of them were fine earlier in the day.

When an alarm was raised in the neighbourhood, a villager said evil spirits might have taken control of the children’s bodies and suggested they be taken to the local ‘tantrik’ (occultist).

After taking some money in fee, the occultist chanted mantras even as the children’s condition deteriorated further. Another villager then suggested they be taken to the hospital immediately.

Malda ghost2
(TMC MLA Dipali Biswas meets the two children who are being treated at Malda hospital.)

Around 8.30pm, Firoz was declared brought dead at the Malda College and Hospital, while Safiqul died on Saturday morning. Kohinoor and Shabnoor are undergoing treatment and their condition is currently stable.

Medical Superintendent and Vice Principal of Malda College and Hospital, Dr Amit Dan, said the two girls are out of danger.

"We suspect the children might have consumed some poisonous thing while playing. It is very unfortunate that people still believe in the power of occultism," he said. "The two others could have also survived had they been brought to the hospital on time.”

Trinamool Congress MLA Dipali Biswas, who visited the victims’ homes, said the parents spoke of ghosts having killed their children.

"I told them not believe in such things. I have ordered an inquiry into the matter and asked police to arrest the ‘tantrik’," he said. "All this is due to poor literacy levels in the area. I have decided to launch a door-to-door campaign to create awareness on such issues.”

A senior police officer said a case has been registered against the tantrik, who is absconding. "Hopefully, he will be arrested soon," added the officer.