Rumours about a bad omen befalling new born babies prompted several parents to break coconuts at different places in the knit city of Tirupur on Friday hoping to ward off evil.
This is the third major rumour witnessed in Tamil Nadu in recent days. Earlier rumours of an ethnic attack had led to an exodus of Northeast people.
Subsequently, unfounded apprehensions had driven hundreds of Muslim women to hospitals on Eid eve as they suspected that their mehendi (henna) was poisoned.
On Friday, word spread that shortly after a woman delivered twins at the Tirupur Government Hospital one of the babies died and the surviving baby mysteriously spoke warning that an evil spell has been cast due to which several infants would die. After delivering the ‘message of death’, the baby too died. Within no time some people performed special pooja and started breaking coconuts smeared with turmeric outside their homes to ward off evil.
“A relative called us up to say that the heard that a new born miraculously spoke forewarning about likely deaths of infants and advised us to perform pooja to protect our child. Though I did not believe him, others in the family did not want to take chances and broke coconuts,” said Mani, a local resident.
No one, however, seemed to know the origin of the rumour or bothered to ascertain whether any woman had delivered twins at the Tirupur GH.
By evening many junctions in the town were filled with broken coconut shells. Incidentally most of these coconuts were broken at junctions where three roads meet, which parents believed was the ‘entry gate’ for Satan.
Infants talk triggers coconut smashing ritual published in Daily thenthi news paper