Govt officials on exorcists hunt to ease tribals' fears

By K C Arun| Express News Service | Published: 17th September 2017 01:21 AM
Amit Bandre

KOZHIKODE: Strange but true, a certain section of government officers in the district has been forced to scout for sorcerers, literally. Deep-rooted superstition among tribals has put the staff of the Kerala Institute for Research Training and Development Studies of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Kirtads) on tenterhooks, forcing them to seek the service of exorcists to chase away 'ghosts' from the homes of tribals.
"The tribals believe once a family member dies, their soul continues to stay in the house, making it a haunted one," Kirtads director S Bindu told Express.

“The tribals don't stay in such houses. Earlier, when they stayed in huts, they used to dismantle it when a family member died and build a new one. But with the government constructing brick and mortar houses for them at various tribals colonies as part of rehabilitation projects, they don't want to living in such houses when someone dies."She said though officers tried to sensitise them against such superstitious beliefs, they turned a deaf ear. "We think the tribals might have such traditions. Anyway, we have to come out with a solution to make them stay in their houses,” said the officer.

In a study conducted by Kirtads, it was found seven houses were abandoned for fear of ‘ghosts’ by tribals at Pathipara settlement in Kodencherry. Kirtads has submitted a report to District Collector U V Jose in this regard.

Kirtads has directed the district administration to prepare an action plan to conduct rituals to exorcise the ‘spirits’ from the houses of Paniyas, Kadars and Kattunaykars in Wayanad and Kozhikode. The government has also decided to conduct a detailed study on such beliefs as the issue has thrown a spanner into the works of various housing projects for relocating the tribals.“Unless we find a solution, the housing project for tribals will not benefit them because already a lot of houses have been abandoned by tribals who either make new huts or shift to houses of relatives,” she said.

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