Sinlung /
27 February 2014

Mizoram Villagers flee after local healer's doomsday vision

AIZAWL: Over half the population of Sedailui hamlet in south Mizoram's Lunglei district fled the village after a 'bawlpu' or 'medicine man' predicted that disaster would befall the villagers. Sources said Surjit Chakma claimed to have seen a 'vision' and predicted that a massive landslide would destroy Sedailui.

The villagers who fled were mainly from the Chakma community. Sources in Lunglei said around 80 Christians from 10 families, belonging to the Baptist Church of Mizoram, did not flee the village.

Sources added that around 100 Christians belonging to the Seventh Day Adventist Church also remained in Sedailui.

Rev R C Lalthanzama, mission director of the Baptist Church of Mizoram's Chakma Mission, went to Sedailui to inspect the situation there on Friday. He was accompanied by some priests.

The Chakma community in the area is known to be extremely superstitious. Practitioners of 'black magic' and 'medicine men' are also common there.

This is not the first such incident in the area. A nearby village, Thanzamasora, had witnessed mass migration of villagers in March, 2011, after 5 villagers succumbed to an unknown disease. The 'bawlpu' of Thanzamasora had accused his counterpart in another village of 'cursing' the 66 households of Thanzamasora.

The villagers had fled to the jungles and remained there till government officials reached the remote village and persuaded them to return. The officials added that the villagers had taken the help of the village 'bodhyo' or healer to cure the sick men. Doctors later found that the five had been afflicted by the Indian tick typhus, after being bitten by ticks in the jungles.

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