BHOPAL: Superstitious belief of a Mahua tree possessing healing powers to all ailments driving crowds from all across the country to a village in the buffer zone of the Satpura Tiger Reserve (STR) in Hoshangabad district is turning out to be a major law and order problem for Madhya Pradesh police.
A mob of villagers attacked local police in Nayagaon village in Pipariya area of Hoshangabad district, when the police tried to regulate and restrict the swollen crowd of people trying to get to the Mahua tree which has been driving people to the village – out of the superstitious belief that a mere touch of the tree will cure them of all ailments and problems.
At least 12 cops, including the Bankhedi police station in-charge SL Jharia were hurt in the attack by the mob and have been admitted at different hospitals of Hoshangabad district.
The Bankhedi police station in-charge SL Jharia who was leading a group of cops suffered severe head injuries and is stated critical at a private hospital.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that a hearing and speech impaired woman, who is part of a local defence committee too was badly injured after being assaulted by the mob.
According to Hoshangabad district police superintendent ML Chhari, since the village is witnessing heavy crowds, particularly on Sundays and Wednesdays, hence the cops had been deployed in the village to regulate the flow of the crowd.
“We still don’t know why our team was attacked in the village when the cops had not misbehaved or manhandled anyone. We tried to talk to villagers after the incident, but none of the villagers could tell us the cause of the attack. It seemed to be an attack by some vested interests,” he said.
“We’re identifying those involved in the incident and a case will be registered against them by tonight,” the SP Hoshangabad said.
Importantly, a rumour started by a farmer about the Mahua tree in Nayagaon village possessing “miraculous healing powers” has been attracting crowds of people from across MP, adjoining Maharashtra and even other states to the village since last few weeks.
Following Wednesday’s mob attack on cops, additional police forces have been deployed in the area to prevent any recurrence of such a violent incident.