SRIKAKULAM: Villagers of Chekkapuram tribal hamlet in Donubai panchayat of Seethampeta mandal have decided to remain aloof from the rest of the world for nine days to ward off evil spirits by performing a special puja. As part of the decision taken by the tribal elders, all the entry points to the hamlet have been closed by erecting fence of thorns and bushes. There was a rise in incidence of fevers in the hamlet in recent times. Even livestock also fell ill. The village elders came to the conclusion that the village was in the grip of misfortune and consulted the tribal priests from Vizianagaram who suggested performance of a special puja for nine consecutive days to ward off evil spirits.
As suggested by the tribal priests, the village elders decided to perform puja by remaining cut off with the outside world. All the villagers were asked to remain in the hamlet itself for the nine days. Tribal children studying in nearby hostels were asked not to come to the village till the end of puja. They also informed the schools within the vicinity that their children would not attend classes for nine days. The restrictions imposed by the village elders apply not only to people but also to livestock.
The puja which began on Friday, will continue till Saturday. Villagers are also offering puja to Lord Shiva and other village deities during the nine-day period. The village is located close to the police station at Donubai. Donubai Sub-Inspector Rajesh said, “The performance of this special pujas will not harm others in any manner. As the village is located at the dead-end , the closure of its entry points will not obstruct any movement of people in the area. Hence, we will not intervene in the matter as it is a local custom and tradition.”