//Villagers worship schoolboy 'possessed' by snake

Villagers worship schoolboy 'possessed' by snake

Kathmandu, Oct 11 (IANS)

Less than a month after a school in western Nepal reported mass fainting fits and hysteria among its students due to the "curse" of a "slain snake god", two children in another district in the region are drawing large crowds who are worshipping them as serpent gods.

The hullabaloo was started in Makrahar village in Rupandehi district by a minor boy, Amandeep Sunchauri, who began telling people a white snake had entered his body and possessed him. About a fortnight ago, the boy, whose age is about 12, began crawling on the ground and telling his family he wanted a separate place to stay in.

Under the belief the boy had become a snake god with supernatural powers, the villagers built a temple for him. Dressed in a white pair of trousers and white shirt that are covered with dust due to his crawling to and from the temple, the boy also sports a little ornament on his head – a white snake coiled to strike.

The incident became even more sensational since Sunday when a 10-year-old girl, Sarita Chaudhari, began imitating the movements of a snake and claiming she too had become a snake god.

Before gaping men, women and children, she puts her hands above her head, aping the hood of a snake, and makes sinuous movements. She is also said to have started crawling on the ground.

The duo is encouraged by a village woman, said to be the patron of Sunchauri. Chunmaya Chhetri, the woman, is a kind of foster mother of Sunchauri, who claims she is possessed by the spirit of the Hindu goddess of power, Kali.

Apparently, Chunmaya encourages the children to behave in the bizarre manner while she goes into a trance before crowds and adds to the spectacle.

Both the children were students of a local school but have apparently stopped attending class after their "transformation".

The fresh report about a new pair of bizarre kids comes after a school in Kaski district in western Nepal hit the headlines for mass hysteria. After a snake was killed on its premises, dozens of students, saying they feared the dead snake would attack them in retaliation, began fainting in class and behaving hysterically.

Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world, also has a low literacy rate and a high degree of superstition. In the rural areas, where both schools and healthcare are inaccessible, villagers still believe in witch doctors and attribute illnesses to curses or voodoo by their enemies.