"in reckless abandon, he chopped off his tongue."
An Indian man cut off his own tongue, reportedly as a sacrifice in an apparent attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Vivek Sharma, aged 24, of Madhya Pradesh, was the man who believed the superstition.
The incident happened in Suigam, Gujarat. Vivek worked with his brother Shivam and seven others at a temple, constructing an extension of the building.
He had been working there since February 2020.
It was reported that the Coronavirus pandemic had worried Vivek. He ended up believing that he could stop the spread if he carried out a sacrifice.
One colleague named Brijesh Singh Saab told police that Vivek was a devotee and wanted to please his beliefs.
On April 18, 2020, he left the temple, telling his colleagues that he was going to the market. However, when he did not return, his brother called him.
Someone else answered the phone, stating that Vivek had cut off his own tongue at another temple.
The Indian man was taken to a hospital in the town of Tharad, where doctors operated on him to reattach his tongue. Vivek had been discovered unconscious with his severed tongue in his hand.
An official statement says that Vivek cut off his tongue in a suicide attempt due to his Coronavirus worries.
However, it was revealed that the act was a sacrifice which he believed would stop the spread of COVID-19.
Police Sub-Inspector HD Parmar explained: “For the last few days, he was keen to go back to his native town in Madhya Pradesh.
“But it was impossible due to lockdown. Today, in reckless abandon, he chopped off his tongue.
“We found him lying unconscious in the temple premises with his tongue in his hand.”
“The priest called the Border Security Force (BSF) commander and Sharma was shifted to a hospital in Tharad town where doctors are trying to reattach his tongue.”
Vivek remains in hospital recovering following a successful operation.
SK Vala, Tharad DSP, added: “Only after a thorough investigation, we will know the exact reason for such a step.”
In another case of extreme ritualistic beliefs, a woman from Uttar Pradesh was arrested for cutting her sister-in-law 101 times.
Police have said it was a supposed exorcism ritual. The woman violently attacked her sister-in-law because she believed that a sacrifice would lead to the recovery of her ill father.