As many as 23 children were branded with hot iron as a ritualistic tradition on ‘Chitalagi Amabasya’ at Bheemasahi village in Nabarangpur district. Superstition regarding branding of children to cure them of common ailments refuses to stop in tribal-dominated Nabarangpur district. All the children were newborn and below the age of 10 years. The reason behind this ritual is that all kids will live a good and healthy life in future.
After receiving information, officials of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), teams of Asha and anganwadi workers visited the village and took stock of the matter. “How much we try to spread awareness about modern healthcare facilities being freely available, people still resort to the old traditional ways of healing their children. What is shocking is that none other than the head of their families are directly responsible for branding the children with hot iron,” said Chandrama Maharana, an Asha worker.
A seven-month-old girl who was branded along with the other children, fell ill recently. Later, the local anganwadi worker took the infant to the hospital. The practice of branding children with hot iron to heal them from several diseases continues in Odisha and several such incidents have been reported in the recent past. Former collector Rasmita Panda had launched an awareness campaign named Jyoti to create awareness among people against the branding of children. However, the superstitious practice continues unabated in the district.