KOPPAL/GADAG (KARNATAKA): Alarmed by rumours, thousands of women last week broke the red corals of their mangalsutras “to ward off the evil for their husbands”. The “breaking ceremonies” of corals were reported from Chitradurga, Koppal, Ballari and Gadag districts. Similar incidents were also reported from villages bordering Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Some women, who did the rituals in Koppal said their relatives telephoned them asking to remove the corals. This spread like wildfire and some also claimed that deaths took place when certain women ignored the “warning”.
The women replaced their mangalsutras and are now waiting for a second set of rumors to wear their jewellery back. “The rumours are that five men died in Hyderabad as their wives were wearing red coral along with mangalsutras. This triggered panic among people. It is also said a research report which talks about ill effects of a software named Coral, may have been misinterpreted by TV channels,” said a rationalist.
‘Coral hysteria’ Mystery revealed
Pondering on the relation between coral and cancer, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA) President Prof Narendra Nayak found his answer in an online abstract in PubMed (a reference centre in biomedical journals). The abstract was titled ‘Methodology of building up and validation of models for carcinogenic potentials of drugs by means of the ‘CORAL’ software.’ “TV channels interpreted it as coral is carcinogenic and went on to state that coral causes cancer,” Nayak said.