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Bizarre India! School mourns Vajpayee, people stone each other to honour lovers

Patrika Staff | Updated on: 19 September 2015, 2:54 IST
Ill-timed: Headmaster shuts school to mourn AB Vajpayee, suspended

In an embarrassing gaffe, the headmaster of a primary school in Odisha's Balasore district declared a holiday after hearing rumours of Atal Bihari Vajpayee's death.

The former prime minister has been out of public life for years now due to ill health, but he is very much alive in his New Delhi residence.

Kamalakanta Das, however, heard at a training workshop that the 90-year-old leader was no more. He rang a fellow teacher at his Budakhunta UGME School and and asked him to hold a condolence meeting and close the school for the day.

The staff did as told and paid floral tributes to Vajpayee. It wasn't long before they realised the faux pas, but it was too late: the school had closed and it had come to the notice of the district administration.

Balasore collector Sanatan Mallick promptly suspended Das. "It's unfortunate that a headmaster acted in such an irresponsible manner without checking facts," Mallick said.

[twittable]The school held a condolence meet, paid floral tributes to AB Vajpayee and then closed for the day[/twittable]

Das regretted the mistake, saying he got the news from a teacher at a training programme in another school.

In July this year, Jharkhand education minister Neera Yadav had committed a similar blunder when she paid floral tributes to former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who was alive at that time.

Bizarre ritual: 146 hurt in annual stone-pelting mela in Chhindwara

Every year, the banks of Jam river in Madhya Pradesh's Chhindwara district witness a bizarre tradition: people pelting stones at each other.

This year, it left as many as 146 people injured, nine of them seriously. The ritual, part of the annual Gotmaar Mela, sees residents of Pandhurna and Sawargaon villages fight with each other in memory of two lovers who were killed while eloping.

Gotmaar is growing strong despite the rising number of injuries. At the end of the festival, the people visit the temple of Goddess Chandi, who they believe heals their wounds.

As always, before the ritual began, hundreds of villagers heaped trolleys of stones on the river bank as the administration looked the other way. Then they started throwing them.

But it got out of hand when a group of stone-pelters chopped off the hand of a local resident named Mahavir.

In the ensuing clash, one Akhilesh Mankar lost his eye while a few villagers suffered broken noses.

In Chhattisgarh village, women impose Rs 500 fine for open defecation

Meet the real-life ambassadors of the Clean India campaign: women of a remote village in Chhattisgarh.

The women of Ghumarguda have decided to impose a fine of Rs 500 on anyone found defecating in the open.

In a village meeting convened by the sarpanch, the women also decided that anyone providing information regarding the "culprits" will get a reward of Rs 300.

The women have formed special teams to keep vigil around the village. In the morning, nearly 100 women gather with their brooms to sweep the entire village clean.

Ghumarguda has 260 toilets and has already been declared open defecation free by the government.

First published: 19 September 2015, 2:57 IST