Were School Students in Haryana Possessed by Ghosts?

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CLAIM

A video showing students of a school rolling on the floor and crying inconsolably has gone viral on social media with multiple users sharing the video claiming the students have been “possessed by ghosts.”

The text accompanying the video says that the video is from a primary school in Haryana and the students have been possessed by spirits and the villagers are living in fear. (गांव के प्राथमिक स्कूल खेड़ा जो कि सफीदों में भूतों ने लिया अपनी चपेट में सभी मां बाप पूरा गांव दहशत में |)

The video is viral on Facebook.

The Quint also received a query about the same incident on its WhatsApp helpline number.

TRUE OR FALSE?

The claim made in the viral video is completely false. The video is not from Haryana but from Sitti village in Bani tehsil of Kathua district, Jammu and Kashmir, and the students were not possessed by spirits, as claimed in the viral video.

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

The Quint searched for the story on Google using keywords ‘school children rolling on floor crying’ and found a couple of news articles by publishers like The Hindu and Greater Kashmir.

The article in the English daily The Hindu narrated the entire incident and reported that the incident had happened at a government school in Kathua's Bani tehsil. The incident had reportedly happened on 13 and 14 June when nearly a dozen students started crying inconsolably and rolling on the floor.

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Speaking to news agency PTI, chief education officer of Kathua said that the impact was less on 13 June, but the next day the students displayed the same behaviour following which deputed teams from nearby schools and the sub-divisional magistrate and tehsildar concerned, along with a medical team and an ambulance, were rushed to the school.

The Quint spoke to the Chief Medical Officer Dr Ashok Chaudhary who said that a team of doctors was sent to the school and the team didn't find any health problem with the students. He further rubbished the claims of the students being possessed by spirits.

"“We had sent psychiatrists to the school to examine the students and the report will be submitted in the next two days after which we will know what caused the mass hysteria.”" - Chief Medical Officer Dr Ashok Chaudhary

Further, the headmaster of the school, Kewal Krishan told IANS that an administrative officer who is also a doctor told them that a plausible explanation for this behaviour could be the students’ academic performance.

"He told us that it was not unusual for children to imitate behavioural symptoms of each other. He also said it is quite possible the affected students are not doing well academically and they have consciously or subconsciously adopted symptoms as excuses for their parents to withdraw them from the school,” Krishan added.

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