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Chhattisgarh: Three lightning victims buried in cow dung for 'cure', two die


RAIPUR: Three people, including a woman, were allegedly buried in cow dung by some villagers in a bid to 'cure' them after lightning struck them in the tribal-dominated Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh, a police official said on Monday.

“Three villagers were buried from feet to neck in cow-dung for hours after they were hit by lightning. Two of them including a woman died later. They took shelter under a tree in a paddy field owing to thunderstorm”, a local police officer said.

They were later shifted to a hospital where two of them were declared brought dead, he said.

Locals believe such unfortunate incidents keep occurring owing to the lack of awareness as many continue to give credence to the prevailing superstitious belief.

“In rural areas and at times some even in urban areas too, those struck by lightning are buried in cow-dung instead of rushing them to the hospital. Such irrational viewpoint persists and the administration remaining indifferent towards changing the baseless perception”, said a senior advocate Subha Mishra based in Jashpur.

There is a contention that the cow-dung provides cooling impact and cure to the body that sustained lightning burn injuries.

“Owing to lack of understanding such speculative ill-founded practices continue among the villagers for decades. They remain ignorant of what expeditious measures should be initiated if a person is struck by lightning”, Shankar Lal Baghel, Jashpur district police chief said.

“Injuries caused by lightning is very serious and it leads to cardiac and respiratory arrest, dehydration, and even deep unconsciousness. Anything that delays treatment for the patients during critical hours often becomes tragic. In all such areas where incidents of lightning are often reported, there be some earmarked arrangement of 8-10 beds in a local hospital to handle emergency cases affected by lightning from June to October”, said Dr. Dinesh Mishra, who campaigns for eradication of superstition and infuse scientific temperament. He felt for a pressing need to raise awareness among the rural population.

While two — Champa Raut (21) and Sunil Sai (23) who were later taken to the local hospital at the behest of some villagers were declared brought dead, the third injured person hit by lightning is undergoing treatment.