Pradeep Pattanayak

In a short span of 10 days, five mysterious deaths at Khandiaguda Paraja Sahi village under Tantulikhunti block in Nabarangpur district have sent shock waves across the village. 

Of the five deaths, three were from a single family. These three deceased relatives have been identified as Chandrama Jani, Gouri Jani and Kusumita Jani. Each of them died in a gap of two days. While Chandrama succumbed on October 1, Gouri and Kusumita breathed their last on October 3 and 5 respectively. 

While the reason behind the deaths is yet to be ascertained, the family members of the trio alleged all of them had similar complaints of chest pain and stomachache. 

In a similar fashion, Sanu Jani and Budai Jani passed away on October 9 and 12 respectively. 

What makes the situation grim is the fact that several others are currently lying in hospital beds, complaining of similar symptoms. 

Chandrama would worship a certain goddess. This led the superstitious panic-stricken villagers to believe that it was her worship that has been taking a toll on the villagers. The villagers urged the health department to take immediate steps to put a curb on deaths. 

Meanwhile, Nabarangapur chief district medical officer (CDMO) Dr Kaliprasad Behera ascribed it to age-related diseases.

“After a close inspection, we came to the conclusion that all deaths are senile deaths. They might also have comorbidities. We thought so because there is no source of infection or any public health-related adversities in the village which would cause death,” said Behera.