A section of so-called herbal practitioners, locally known as kabiraj, have continued fleecing people in the name of treating paralysis patients in different areas of Lalmonirhat and adjoining districts, taking advantage of the blind faith of innocent villagers.
"I made a Tk 40 thousand contract with the team of Kashem Ali, a kabiraj from Chilmari area in Kurigram district, for treatment of my paralysed husband Mohor Ali, 70. After giving treatment for two weeks, Kashem Ali took the total amount from me, saying that my husband would be well by a month. But his condition did not improve. He expired after two months," said Saheda Begum, 60, of Bhadai village in Aditmari upazila.
Amena Begum, 48, of Uttar Saptana village in Lalmonirhat Sadar, said, “I spent Tk 30 thousand as Nur Ali, leader of a kabiraj team from Dimla upazila in Nilphamari, assured me to save my paralysed husband Mazibar Rahman. They tried hard for about a month but my husband expired last week.”
As part of the treatment, a kabiraj touches the paralysed patients with different plants and leaves. While chanting of mantra and singing songs continue, little girls dance around the patients, locals said.
The paralysed patients are also taken into holes dug on earth for giving another round of 'treatment' at midnight or early morning, when there is hardly anyone to see, they said.
Hasanul Islam Sheikh, a college teacher at Namuri village of Aditmari upazila, said, "I know at least nine paralysed patients at the village got such kabiraji treatment in last two years, but none of them got cured. And all of them expired finally. A group of people are cheating the innocent villagers in the name of ayurvedic treatment."
Contacted, kabiraj Kashem Ali of Chilmari upazila in Kurigram district said, he and his eight-member team have been giving treatment to paralysed patients in greater Rangpur region for the last 20 years.
"There are at least 25 kabiraj teams, each comprising five to eight members, in greater Rangpur area. We remain busy round the year for giving treatment to paralysed patients," kabiraj Hamidul Islam of Kulaghat village in Lalmonirhat Sadar said.
Lalmonirhat Civil Surgeon Dr Jahangir Alam Sarker said, "There is no approval for such so-called kabiraji treatment and conditions of paralysis patients are likely to worsen if they receive it."