A recently set up so-called mazar (shrine) at Khetupara village of Sujanagar upazila under the district sees thronging of hundreds of diseased people who donate money for healing with the help of the 'mystical spirit' there.
Omar Kazi and his sister Hafiza Begum established the so-called shrine at their Khetupara village home early this year.
“This is grave of Hyder Ali, an oli (Muslim saint) who lived 300 years ago. Once I was ordered in a dream to make a mazar here," Hafiza Bagum told this correspondent.
"As we delayed the work, my son Ruhul Kazi died without any disease last year. And so, I built the mazar early this
year,” Omar Kazi said.
On the other hand, villager Md Nurul Islam said, "They suddenly constructed the mazar here. We did not know about the existence of any oli's grave at the village earlier."
After establishment of the mazar, people started thronging here to take soil as mystical medicine for all diseases but the practice of eating soil stopped amid protest from conscious people, said Md Abdul Mannan Manu, a local.
“We do not force anybody to give donation but the people who get benefit donate money or other things. Tk 4 to 5 thousand is collected every Friday," Omar Kazi said.
Visiting the spot last Friday, this correspondent found people of different ages putting money into a box there.
“I am suffering from mental problem. I heard that the special medicine of the mazar cures diseases,” said Nurunnahar Begum, an elderly woman of Mallikpara village of Sujanagar.
Md Robiul Islam, 60, of Borat village in Kashinathpur of Santhia upazila said he came for the second time to take medicine for ulcer as he felt better by taking it earlier.
Medicine specialist Prof Iftekhar Mahmud, principal of Kushtia Medical College, said, “There is no scientific basis of such treatment. Rather it poses risk due to lack of hygiene."