Woman ‘Possessed By Goddess’ Critical While Attempting To Cure Snakebite Victim In Odisha’s Keonjhar

Keonjhar: Inadequate knowledge and superstition not only lead to the death of a snakebite victim but also put another life at risk at Jhanjhana village under Soso police limits in Odisha’s Keonjhar district.

According to sources, Jhunurani Behera (40) was bitten by a poisonous snake when she had gone to the agriculture field on Sunday evening. She told her family members about the incident on returning home. Instead of taking her to a hospital, they sought help from one Minati Dehury, who claimed to have divine healing powers being possessed by a goddess, at Mangala temple in the village.

Dehury reported to have conducted some ‘black magic’ on the victim and then tried to suck out the poison from her wound with her mouth. When she failed to revive Jhunurani, her family then rushed her to Anandpur sub-divisional hospital, where doctors declared her ‘brought dead’.

Soon after, Minati too was brought to the hospital as she had fallen unconscious after attempting to suck the snake poison. “I did not feel anything initially, but as soon as the Goddess left my body, I felt uneasy, my head reeled and I fell unconscious,” she said.

Notably, around 6,200 people have died of snakebites in Odisha in the last five years despite large-scale interventions. Snakebite deaths alone accounted for around 40% of the total disaster deaths in the state. Such cases relatively high in Certain high-alert districts including Keonjhar, Balasore, Bhadrak and Ganjam primarily due to factors such as remote pockets, flood-prone areas and lack of awareness, sources added.


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