Two children died while two others remained admitted at a hospital in critical condition as sorcery rituals were allegedly performed on them rather than moving them to hospital after they complained of food poisoning.
According to reports in the India media, the incident occurred in Malda district’s Gajole in West Bengal when four children — Mohammed Firoz (8), Kohinoor Khatoon (7), Safiqul Islam (6), and Shabana Khatun (3) ate some poisonous fruits while playing in a ground.
The children returned from the ground complaining of illness.
The parents instead of moving them to a hospital, took them over to a sorcerer, Rafique Sheikh, of their village who performed some rituals. However, after a deterioration in the children’s health conditions, they were rushed to a rural health facility.
During the meantime one of the child Firoz died on his way to the hospital.
The children were then referred to another hospital as there was no paediatrician in the rural hospital.
Firoz’s mother, Firoza Bibi said her child was playing with the other children. “He suddenly returned and said he was unwell. Then he fell unconscious. When we took him to the rural hospital, he was not breathing at all.”
Safiqul also died in Malda Medical hospital on Saturday morning. The other two children, Kohinoor and Shabana, have been kept in the Isolation Ward of the hospital.
A lawmaker from the area said that the villagers are suspecting evil hands behind the incident as they are superstitious.
Amit Dawn, Deputy Superintendent of the hospital, said, “The two girls admitted here are sisters. They had complained of stomach and headache. The parents took them to a sorcerer instead of going to the hospital.”
“Time was wasted in this and one child had died on the way. Another child died here in the hospital. Primary investigation show there was food poisoning. We have informed police about it.”