Tribals bury lightning victims in cowdung to “de-poison” them

Phulbani: Driven by superstition, relatives of two tribals, who died due to lightning, kept the bodies in a heap of cowdung hoping them to resurrect before police seized the bodies.
Two persons were killed and three others injured after being struck by lightning while taking shelter under a mango tree near Khajuripada village under Phiringia police station in Kandhamal district yesterday, Inspector-in-Charge Madan Mohan Pradhan said.
The villagers handed over the bodies to police after performance of "some prevailing tribal rituals" in the village yesterday, Pradhan said adding the injured were being treated at the primary health centre (PHC) at Phiringia.
The deceased belonged to Khajuripada village while the injured hailed from nearby Kekerengia, he said.
However, a villager Aswini Kanhar said the tribals believed that those struck by lightning come under the influence of poison and were buried in a heap of cowdung in their unsuccessful bid to de-poison them.
As part of their ritual, the head of the dead or the injured person is kept outside the cowdung heap and they are served with watered rice and traditional tribal foods nearby.
Asked as to whether they followed the practice for deaths, the tribal leader said it was only for people struck by lightning, both dead and injured.