Panic prevailed in parts of the old city on Wednesday night after a rumour of possible death of children if they sleep in night started making rounds. Anxious parents woke up their children and rushed out of their houses to prevent them from sleeping.
The rumour of a baby girl born to a family in Shaheennagar area of old city predicting death of children if they sleep on Wednesday night spread thick and fast, snatching sleep of children and their parents for around four hours. People began making frantic calls to their friends and relatives fuelling tension. Concerned parents from abroad also called in their families here.
“A friend of mine called me over phone and informed about it. Worried over it, I rushed home and woke up my children,” said Abdul Khadeer, an auto driver at Falaknuma, even as his terrified children sat in a corner in front of the house.
People were not ready to give a second thought to it. “I sprinkled some water and woke my children after coming to know about the rumour from my neighbours,” said Jameel, a carpenter from Nawabsahab Kunta.
Scores of families in areas of Yakutpura, Amannagar, Misrigunj, Falaknuma, Shaheennagar, Hafeezbabanagar, Khilwat and a few western areas of the city were seen sitting outside their houses in odd hours of the night. Announcements made from local mosques not to believe in the rumours made no impact.
Worried parents were seen struggling to keep their children awake at the odd hours. If some took them out for stroll, others allowed them to mingle with their peers in the neighbourhoods and play. A few parents took their children out for rides on bikes and in autorickshaws.
Carried away by the rumours a large crowd gathered near the St. Ann’s hospital, popularly known as ‘Gudi-ka-dawakhana’ in Jahanuma, after rumours of the girl who predicted it being admitted here. Driven by curiosity, hundreds of people gathered here leading to tension in the area. The handful of policemen who reached here faced tough time dispersing the public.