MALKANGIRI: As scientists across the globe burn the midnight oil to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, residents of Pasranpalli village in Odisha’s Malkangiri district have committed an unthinkable act that they describe as a “definite” step to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.
The residents, most of whom are tribals, on Monday served country-liquor to around 50 children to ward off coronavirus infection. A video of the incident surfaced on social media and went viral.
According to reports, the children were asked to sit in a line in the village playground and served liquor made from Salap juice on green Sal leaf-plates.
During the bizarre act, social distancing went for a toss as the children sat close to each other without wearing masks. Reports said at least five pots of Salap juice were collected by the villagers on Sunday evening from the local forest and brewed as country-liquor.
Salap is a date-palm variety tree that grows in natural forests. Its juice is widely used for brewing country-liquor by the tribals in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.
“Most of tribals and non-tribals living in southern Odisha districts have a vague belief that consumption of the country liquor made from Salap juice helps develop immunity in the human body to fight all types of disease. Normally, consumption of Salap juice is part of the culture of the tribals living in southern Odisha districts. When these people heard about COVID-19 recently, they thought Salap juice can be the best remedy for this,” Debadutta Behera, a local social worker said.
Another superstitious act had taken place in the district a couple of days ago when a sorcerer allegedly thrashed an ailing woman and fed her pig excreta to treat her.