Relocated Tamil girls bury ghosts
By P K Balachandran - COLOMBO
24th December 2012 07:51 AM
“Ghosts” that were “tormenting” 15 of the 103 Tamil women recently inducted to the Sri Lankan army have ceased to pose a problem ever since the recruits were shifted out of the Bharathipuram camp.
“When we came to know that Bharathipuram had seen many deaths during the war and that the ghosts of the dead were still hovering around, some of us felt like strange men were touching us. We would faint out of fright. Fifteen of us had such experiences. But the problem is not there since we shifted to Kokkavil camp,” said Subajini Nagendran, a 18-year-old recruit from Dharmapuram in Kilinochchi.
“We thought we were seized by an evil spirit. To drive it out, one of us would go into a trance and break into a wild dance as if possessed (by Kali or Amman),” Nagendran told Express.
Since the native cure failed to drive the ‘spirits’ away, the affected women were admitted to the Kilinochchi hospital, where Dr S Sivadas, psychiatrist at Vavuniya hospital, examined them. “Feeling of being possessed stems from lack of confidence, arising from an inability to adjust to new situations. ‘Devil dancing’ to rid evil spirits is common among the people of the Wanni,” he said.
“The recruits were not prepared for military training as they were expecting to learn clerical work. The question that they kept asking themselves was ‘We are Tamils. Is this right choice?’ But they denied any sexual abuse by the army,” Sivadas added.
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