Blind faith and superstition have taken over parts of Bihar as people sacrifice thousands of frogs to appease rain Gods in the state that has seen a 42 per cent deficit in rainfall this monsoon. Also Read - Coronavirus: 60 Confirmed Cases in Bihar. Over 20 From a Single Family in Siwan

Farmers in drought-prone Magadh region comprising five districts — Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Nawada, and Arwal — in southern Bihar, are killing thousands of frogs to appease the rain Gods. Also Read - This is What These State Governments Are Doing For Their People Who Are Stranded in Other States During lockdown

A group of farmers in Chiriyawan village under Atari block in Gaya crushed to death dozens of frogs to follow a ritual called “Beng Kutni”(crushing frogs). Similar rituals were also taking place at other villages. Also Read - Man Beaten to Death in Bihar's Sitamarhi For Informing Police About COVID-19 Suspects

With the Met predicting the dry spell to continue, farmers are worried and frustrated. They have turned to Gods. Most of them are praying, some have even given in to old blind faith and superstition.

Baliram Singh, a villager of Chiriyawan said as per an age-old ritual, a group of women is supposed to dig a makeshift water body and fill it up with water brought from all the wells in the village. Then they are to catch dozens of live frogs from nearby bush and wetland and put them in the freshly dug water body and then hit them with bamboo sticks.

Taking the ritual further, they then prepare a garland of dead frogs and put it on a man from the village. The man in his turn has to hurl abuse. More the abuse more chances of rain.

This practice is also prevalent in East and West Champaran districts bordering Nepal. The farmers in Mithilanchal region comprising Darbhanga, Madhubani, and Sitamarhi districts are also praying and performing different rituals for rains.

Mahender Yadav, who has been working with small and marginal farmers in the flood-prone Koshi region of Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura districts, said farmers even wed the frogs.

Of Bihar’s 37 districts, 22 have received 60 per cent less rainfall. Only six districts recorded normal rainfall. There are high deficits of 87 per cent in Vaishali, 82 per cent in Bhojpur and 72 per cent in Arwal.

Contrary to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast of near-normal monsoon rains in 2018 in Bihar, the state has so far recorded a deficit of nearly 42 per cent in rainfall.

It has received 203.2 mm of rainfall as against the normal average of 353.2 mm between June 1 to July 16, said Met official Sandip Kumar.

There is a widespread fear of drought-like situation among millions of farmers who have faced similar situation thrice in the last seven years.

Poor monsoon has affected paddy farming which is in its peak season. Cultivation of paddy crop is water intensive.

Monsoon normally hits the state between June 12 and 14. But it was delayed by 12 to 14 days in 2018. v