New Delhi, July 6: Rumours of an unseen force, ghost chopping off women’s and young girl’s hair has been making rounds in Western Rajasthan, and has consequently spread panic among villagers. Reports claim that such is the fear among the villagers now that apart from holding rituals, in some areas, they have also formed vigilante groups to monitor the villages at night.
As per reports, 12 incidents have been reported at police stations against such incidents where hair has been cut off of young girls and women. While most of the villagers are of the opinion that it is the task of some evil forces or occult groups, the messages being spread around has not helped the situation any better. These messages spread using message application WhatsApp reportedly carry morphed images and facts and in a way creating further anxiety among the people.
In this regard, while on the one hand, the police are unable to find this ‘ghost’ hair-cutter, they are also not able to find the root of such superstitious messages. Moreover, what is indeed more dangerous in this situation is that due to the misinformation spread through these messages, the villagers are reportedly turning hostile towards any stranger.
Hindustan Times while covering this incident quoted an anonymous source who was reportedly almost attacked by a group of such vigilant villagers, as he was about to enter the new village. But only due to timely intervention of an acquaintance, he was saved, he claimed.
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The areas from where primarily this incident of hair-cutting has been reported are the remotest corner of Western Rajasthan like Bajju, Bangarsar and Mankasar. Interestingly in two cases it was found that the people who complained of being victim of this ghost hair-cutter actually cut the hair themselves.
While Jodhpur Superintendent of Police (Rural), Ravi told Hindustan Times that the police are investigating all the instances but are unclear of the possible perpetrators, he emphasised on the point how most of these cases were reported from villages where literacy rate is very poor.
As per the Hindustan Times report, the WhatsApp messages did indeed claim that a group of strangers with occult powers have entered the area and these people are capable of shifting shapes and are involved in cutting the hair of women for occult practices. In another instance, one of the villager, whose young daughter’s hair was cut stated that he had heard rumours about a group Muslims who have entered in the villages in Bikaner and Jodhpur and were chopping off hairs of girls and women.
Superintendent of Police Ravi also stated they are trying to raise awareness among the people of these villages about the rumours. In regard to the night watch groups formed by the villagers, he said that he is making sure that a police official accompanies any such vigilante group to prevent any untoward incident.
In all of this it is indeed noteworthy that, the Jharkhand lynching incident where villagers attacked a group of people on suspicions of them being child-lifters was also later found to be based on rumours spread through WhatsApp messages.
In case of the ghost hair-cutter, Chairperson of Rajasthan State Commission for Women, Suman Sharma told Hindustan Times that letters have been written to the SPs of the concerned districts to look into the matter and find out those behind the rumours and has directed them to take strict action. She also said how the cult of village godmen, known as ‘Bhopa’ are using the situation for their own profit and were spreading the rumours further.