UP school closed as kids fall sick after ghost 'chases' them

An old and big banyan tree, a dilapidated stone platform where rituals used to be performed once, an ugly woman attired in red saree and a lot of sick children. The setting seems perfect for a Bollywood horror movie.

In a incident clearly reflective of the prevalent superstitious practices, a school in Uttar Pradesh’s backward Banda district, about 200 kilometres from here, was closed indefinitely after several children fell sick after being ‘chased by a ghost’.

A closure notice duly signed by school principal Bhupat Singh in Gajni village in the district, had been pasted on the banyan tree, according to sources.

Singh said over a dozen schoolchildren had fainted during the last fortnight after what they claimed being ‘chased by an ugly looking lady wearing a red saree’.

“The children, after regaining senses, told that the lady would call them near her and push them down on the ground when they tried to run away,” Singh said. The villagers asked their children not to go to school.

The doctors, however, termed it ridiculous. “It seems to be some psychological problem. We are treating the children,” said Dr Vineet Sachan, a medical officer at the Banda District Hospital, where many children had been admitted after falling sick.

Local education officials said it could be a mischief by some children to avoid going to the school. They said they would look into the circumstances.

The villagers, however, have started renovating the stone platform and also begun rituals to keep the ‘ghost’ away from their children. They claimed that earlier also similar incidents had occurred near the school but the authorities did not pay any attention to them.

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