In a bizarre move, people in a tribal-dominated village of Odisha’s Malkangiri district served liquor brewed from a tree to about a dozen children in the age group of 10-12 years believing that it would keep Coronavirus at bay.
Villagers in Malkangiri said the children were served the fermented sap of the Salapa tree at a marriage function of one Sana Muchaki of Pasranpalli village under Padia block two weeks ago.
Sukha Kabasi of Tekguda village who attended the marriage function said the children were served the fermented sap, a heady brew, after some village elders advised the same.
“The elders said having Salapa would keep Coronavirus at bay. Though elders normally take Salapa brew, it is not given to children,” said Kabasi.
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Though the incident happened 2 weeks ago, it became public after the video of the incident went viral today. In the video, the children and villagers were also found not following the Covid-19 guidelines like wearing mask and maintaining social distancing.
District child protection officer Narayan Das said he took up the issue with the village elders as children should not be served any liquor. “Serving liquor to children in the name of tradition or Covid is not advisable,” said Das. The excise department has also started an investigation into the incident.