Women are worshipping the Chinese coronavirus as a goddess in parts of India, leaving offerings to the supposed deity, local media revealed this week.
The New Indian Express reported that that women in some villages in India’s Uttar Pradesh region have started worshipping a goddess named “Corona Mai” by digging a pit in a field, filling it with water, and offering nine cloves and Indian sweets known as laddoos.
Growing numbers of women are reportedly joining in the activity in the hope that the goddess will show mercy and spare their lives as no effective treatment or vaccine has yet been found.
“We have taken shelter under goddess coronavirus. She will be pacified with worship,” said Naina Devi, a worshipper who joined one of the groups, in an interview with News18. “The doctors have failed to treat patients and scientists have also failed to develop a vaccine to cure coronavirus. We have worshipped coronavirus goddess so that our family members will remain safe from it.”
Many locals are unhappy that people are allowed to partake in the activities. Schoolteacher Radhey Lal called on authorities to step in.
“The authorities must stop such activities which promote superstition,” he told IANS. “Everyone knows that there is no cure for corona and this kind of activity must be stopped.”
Many also believe that the coronavirus is the creation of “Shitala Devi,” a Hindu goddess who many believe can cure infectious diseases such as smallpox, cholera, and measles.
With its vast population of over 1.3 billion, India has so far recorded the fourth-highest number of cases worldwide, only surpassed by Brazil, Russia, and America. The government this week began the process of easing lockdown measures imposed to contain the spread of the virus, with shopping malls, places of worship, restaurants, and state borders all reopening from Monday.
Last month, India was one of 116 nations to demand a probe into the origins of the coronavirus and the response of the World Health Organization in a move that will likely upset neighboring China, who are attempting to shut down or prevent any investigations into the origins of the worldwide pandemic.