Eye hospital swamped with patients amid tainted holy ash rumour

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AN eye hospital in Tamil Nadu, India, was swamped by nearly 500 people seeking treatment after a rumour spread that those who attended a religious festival might get eye damage due to tainted vibuthi (holy ash), Tamil dailies reported.

A temple in the Theni district had earlier hosted a four-day festival where devotees cut themselves on the chest during the night prayers and applied the ashes to close the wounds.

Some devotees who accidentally got some of the ashes into their eyes complained of eye irritation. The news then spread like wildfire, causing a panic.

Some began speculating that the problem was caused by chemicals used to make the ashes smell good and look whiter and brighter.

The hospital management quickly helped to send the affected devotees to a nearby hospital to avoid mass panic.

These devotees were cleared of any problems and sent home with eye drops.

Doctors who checked the patients said a combination of the bright lights used at the festival and the ashes might have caused some discomfort and inflammation of the eyes.

The affected people recovered quickly after some rest.

> Dozens of families living in Linggi, Negri Sembilan, have urged the state government to resolve the flooding problem they have been facing for nearly 30 years, Makkal Osai reported.

Saroja Muniandi, 69, who has lived in the Pengkalan Durian low-cost housing scheme for 27 years, said many of the younger residents had grappled with the floods for their entire lives.

According to the residents, the area would flood even if there was a brief heavy downpour.

The frustrated victims said it was not possible for them to stay at home all the time to salvage their belongings whenever a flood swamped their homes, so they ended up losing belongings worth thousands of ringgit each time.

●  The above article is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this ‘ >’sign, it denotes a separate news item.