Bizarre treatments like casting spell to drive away evil spirit and cure serious diseases, continue in rural areas as a section of people, especially poor and simple-minded ones, depend on such unscientific methods.
College student Md Rasel died on Tuesday night while undergoing so called supernatural treatment at the house of Abdul Mannan of Baraitali village in Taltali upazila under Barguna district.
Rasel, 18, son of Altaf Hossain of Madhobkhali village in Mirzaganj upazila under Patuakhali district, was an HSC examinee this year from Akhtar Hossain Choudhury Memorial College in Mirzaganj, family sources said.
After attending the first day's examination, he fell ill and his father Altaf Hossain brought him to Abdul Mannan, a claimant of special ability to drive away ill spirits.
As per Mannan's suggestion, Rasel was bathed in the pond twice a day, for half an hour each time, in addition to applying smoke from incense, charms and incantations daily.
But Rasel's condition worsened day by day and finally he died after 42a days of treatment.
"As my son fell ill due to the effect of an evil gaze, I brought him to Mannan. I am really unlucky. Many patients came round with Mannan's treatment," said Altaf.
Md Shafiqul Islam, member of Nishanbaria UP said, Mannan is earning money by cheating local people, especially poor and illiterate ones, in the name of treatment to different kinds of patients at his house for long.
Mannan, on the other hand, said, "Rasel died as his lifetime expired. Many people got cured with my treatment."
This correspondent met Jahangir Hossain, a so-called supernatural healer at Badurhat under Galachipa upazila in Patuakhali district about 11:00am on Thursday.
He started playing with a snake and a good number of people gathered around him. Later he brought out some tabij (talisman) from a pot and told people to buy those to get rid of problem in conjugal life, to win over enemy, and get rid of cancer, gastric, ulcer and other diseases.
A talisman was selling for Tk 20 to 100, depending on the problem.
"I bought a talisman to get rid of chronic gastric problem," said Md Shahjahan Akon of Auliapur village.
Contacted, Jahangir said, "Only those who believe it wholeheartedly will come round. It is my father's business and I am conducting it for 15 years as many people are getting benefit."
This correspondent also saw two men selling syrup with alleged quality to cure several diseases at Dashmina Bazar in Patuakhali a few days ago.
Md Khalilur Rahman, civil surgeon of Patuakhali, said, "There is no scientific basis of such treatments. We have programmes to create awareness among people regarding the matter."