Panic gripped six districts in Karnataka on Tuesday night when married women started believing that the coral beads in their mangalsutra would bring, not just misfortune, but death to their husbands, Times of India reported. Women were so alarmed by the alleged reports that thousands of women actually went and broke the red corals on their mangalsutras “to ward off the evil for their husbands”. The origin of the rumour is still unknown. In Chitradurga, Koppal, Ballari and Gadag districts, women broke the mangalsutra beads and similar incidents were also reported from villages bordering Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, according to a New Indian Express report. Some women, who carried out the breaking rituals in Koppal said their relatives asked them to remove the corals and this rumour spread like wildfire.
In the wake of the incident, the Karnataka government’s women and child development department had to issue a public appeal requesting women not to be misled by these rumours. Also, the deputy commissioners in the districts were directed to crack down against the rumours and create awareness among the public, News Nation reported.
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Deputy commissioners in the districts were immediately asked to take steps to quell the rumours and create awareness among people.
The Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA) President Prof Narendra Nayak blamed some television channels for triggering the ‘Coral hysteria’. Activists in Ballari who had invited the rationalist to organise anti-superstition workshops told him that women in rural areas heard a rumour on TV, according to New Indian Express.