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FOR tribals in Mayurbhanj district of
Orissa, mantras of the tantriks and
other saffron-clad individuals can still
evoke the fear of God in them as
members of the District Action Group,
A plantation programme in about
eight ha of land in the Betnoti area of the
district had the misfortune of going
haywire when it was noted that newly
planted saplings were being uprooted
the very next day. To ascertain the
culprit, MASS members had to resort to
calling the ojha or the local tantrik.
Getting underway, the tantrik with
his flowing beard and Vermillionsmeared attire, immediately called
upon the evil spirits via his assorted
paraphernalia including the human
skull, flowers, and cock to punish the
culprit with many a curse unless the person reveals his identity. Hardly had the
ritual begun, when a young man confessed to his crime which he had committed due to an old enemity with a MASS member!
The seedlings were thus rcstored
and the plantation drive continued.
Looks like the environment can take all
the help it can including such practices
to save itself.