Panic in Jharkhand over ‘mehndi’ chemical reaction

September 21st, 2009 - 12:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Sep 21 (IANS) There was panic in Jharkhand as rumours of people dying from a chemical reaction to mehndi, the auspicious touch to every ritual and festivity, spread like the proverbial wildfire leading to announcements from mosques that it should not be used and even a ban on the decorative paint on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr.
According to a state government official, the chaos started Sunday night with a rumour that mehndi, or henna, had killed scores of people. This soon led to announcements from various mosques in the state that people should not use mehndi.

People in the Muslim community, getting ready for Eid, started making frantic calls to relatives and told them not to put mehndi because it was killing women.

By late Sunday, all hospitals in Ranchi and other districts were crowded with girls and women who had put mehndi on their hands. The majority of them were discharged after first aid and no deaths were reported in any part of the state.

“Some of the girls complained of a burning sensation in their hands and itching. Doctors say that the chemical which is mixed in mehndi to get a deep colour seems to have reacted in some girls. The allergy of mehndi created panic and the mosque announcement compounded the situation,” a senior official in the state government told IANS.

The panic was reported in Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur, Lohardagga and other districts of Jharkhand.

Intricate henna patterns on the hands and feet are part of rituals in most Indian homes, Hindu or Muslims. Whether weddings or festivals, mehndi is an intrinsic part of the celebrations.

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