PHULBANI: Healthcare came to a standstill in District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) at Phulbani on Thursday as curious health staff and patients spent several hours witnessing a black magic practitioner trying to bring a dead man to life.
Ironically, the health officials of the DHH expressed their helplessness in stopping the act considering the religious beliefs of the people witnessing the event. The Collector has called for an inquiry into the incident.
The man, Golak Behera of Nediguda under Khajuripada police limits, was bitten by a snake in the morning and was declared dead by the medical officer of DHH. His relatives, though, did not believe the doctor and called a black magic practitioner, Gupte Dananayak of Tikabali.
While Behera’s body was placed on a stretcher in the corridor of the hospital, Gupte sacrificed a black hen over the dead body. He then conducted rituals and prayers and this continued for four hours. During this period, a large crowd had gathered, that included the medical staff, in the corridor to witness Gupte’s attempts to resurrect the dead body. When he failed to bring Behera back to life, the latter’s relatives allowed the doctors to conduct post-mortem on the body.
Receiving information, Collector Brunda D directed Sub-Collector Balaram Mallick to inquire into the matter and submit a report. The Sub-Collector, in his inquiry report, fixed responsibility upon the staff of Town police station and DHH for encouraging superstitious practices in the hospital.
On the other hand, Additional District Medical Officer Mamata Mahapatra expressed her helplessness and said the matter was brought to the notice of the local police and everything happened in their presence.
Police said as there was a huge gathering, they could not take any action against Gupte or prevent him from practising black magic considering the religious beliefs of relatives of the deceased. An unnatural death case has been registered.