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Unable to get over classmate's death, students break into 'mass hysteria' in Uttarakhand school

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The Times Of India
16th October, 2019 22:42 IST

DEHRADUN: In a case being dubbed as ‘mass hysteria’, six girl students of a government school in Chamoli district started behaving violently in the midst of a class earlier this week. School officials said that this was the second such case in the past one month when girls of the school behaved in this manner.

Medical tests and counselling subsequently revealed that the students couldn’t get over a recent natural disaster that killed their classmate.

Talking to TOI, Dinesh Kumar, principal of Government Inter College, Banjabgarh, said that the increasing frequency of such incidents had became a cause of worry for the school administration. “Last month, more than a dozen girl students had started shouting loudly in the class without any reason and they had to be controlled by the teachers. But this time, the girls become violent and could not be controlled. We had to eventually move them to a hospital,” said the principal adding that he suspected that some people may have performed ‘black magic’ on the girls, leading them to behave in this manner.

“Such things are quite prevalent in the hills. Even I am thinking of performing a puja in the school to protect students from negative influences,” he added.

Meanwhile, counselling of the students revealed that the girls were not able to get over the recent flash floods in the district in which their classmate had drowned which was reflecting in their anxiety and outburst. Their medical examination also revealed that the girls were undernourished, had poor eyesight and were extremely tense. “The girls were routinely walking around six kilometre every day to reach school and were severely undernourished. Besides, they had developed anxiety and the fear of death after seeing their friends die in the flash floods that hit the area some months ago. They were found suffering from anaemia as well as they were neither bringing lunch not eating breakfast and hence remaining hungry for 11 to 12 hours,” said Dr Mukesh Pal, doctor at Community Health Centre (CHC) at Ghaat block of Chamoli district who examined the girls.

Dr Pal further added that this could be “a case of mass somatisation disorder which is also known as hysteria.”

Meanwhile, Dr Vipul Singh, a senior professor of psychology, told TOI, “People suffering from hysteria generally behave in such a way either to gain or divert attention. This could be because of various reasons. If the girls in the Chamoli school have seen their classmate dying, this could be a reason for their fear and hysterical situation.”

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