The Abhishek Bacchan starrer, Delhi 6, told the tale of a kala bandar or a black “Monkey Man” in Delhi that created mass hysteria in certain neighbourhoods. This was based on actual rumours and urban legends of a kala bandar in Delhi. Panic spread with some describing the Monkey Man as having metal claws and red eyes. Also, remember back in 2005, when reports of Ganesh idols drinking milk were doing the rounds? People believed it was a sign that “God was drinking milk”. Well, the land of superstitions is not likely to run out of them any time soon, is it?
Take the mysterious case of the “hair chopper”, for example. An earlier report stated how women in Haryana were getting their braids mysterious cut off. They lose consciousness and wake up to find their locks chopped off. But the hair chopping rumour has spread in geography. Reports of women’s hair being chopped off in the same mysterious manner have surfaced from Rajasthan, specifically in Bikaner, Jodhpur, Sikar and Jaipur. This, on top of complaints in Delhi. Most residents of these areas believe an “evil spirit” to be behind the incidents. We didn’t know ghosts had graduated to being hair stylists.
The common thread binding all these cases is the manner in which the women report the incident unfolded. Every woman who’s had her hair chopped allegedly experienced severe headache, fainted and woke up to find her hair cut off. In Chhawla area of West Delhi, residents believe there is “black magic” involved.
All this while, this hairy tale sounded absurd, almost comical. But the case took a grave turn when a 62-year-old woman, Maan Devi, in Agra was beaten to death by residents of her village. They suspected her to be the “witch” behind all the hair chopping. According to a report, she had stepped out in the night to defecate when a young girl from the village spotted her. Being spooked by her attire (a white saree – thank you, Bollywood), she ran to her parents and other members of the village. They then nabbed Maan Devi and beat her to death.
The police in Fatehabad also received a couple of fake complaints. One of the complainants claimed she had her hair chopped off by an “evil spirit”. On investigating, it was found that the sample of hair chopped off was a hair extension. Close shave, fake victim.
According to another report, the Uttar Pradesh Police on Thursday arrested a 45-year-old alleged occultist. Apparently, he had convinced a 17-year-old girl to cut off her hair braid in Gorakhpur. The police said the accused, Chandrabhan Das, was arrested for allegedly contributing to the “rumours about a mysterious braid chopper”. Das is an occult practitioner in Machligaon village of Uttar Pradesh. When a resident of the village came to Das for finding a way cure an undiagnosed illness of his daughter’s, he advised her to cut off her hair. Her changed appearance sparked rumours about she being a victim of the “hair-chopper” and led to Das being arrested by the police on receiving complaints from the girl’s neighbours.
In spite of all these complaints, not a single First Information Report (FIR) has been filed by any police branches across Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. This, because the police believes there isn’t any actionable evidence of the crime.
For now, it is working on preventive measures for curbing the spreading of “evil spirit” and “black magic” rumours. They believe that there isn’t a gang of hair-cutters involved, only rumour mongers. The police are launching campaigns on WhatsApp to prevent people from spreading harmful rumours about these hair-chopping incidents.
While the incidents are getting more bizarre by the day, it appears it is the rumour mongering and superstition that are doing the most damage. Meanwhile, can someone inform the Ramsay brothers about a possible script in the making?