Three-month-old Rahul, son of Karnan (26) and Rajeswari (23), is an object of curiosity and reverence to residents of T. Parangini in Vanur block and Nedumozhiyanur in Tindivanam block, where his parents hail from.

The villagers believe he is either endowed with extraordinary powers or is a victim of black magic as he burnt down the two huts he occupied in Nedumozhiyanur and at T. Parangini. The parents initially admitted the baby in the Mundiyampakkam Government Medical College Hospital and later took him to Jipmer in Puducherry.

When the couple returned to T. Parangini after the boy’s treatment, the villagers refused to let them into the village as the ‘cursed child might do immense harm to them,’ they said. Rajeswari was asked to take the child to her maternal home.

On hearing of the case, district collector V. Sampath intervened and advised that the child be taken to Chennai for treatment.

Karnan and Rajeswari married in 2010, against their families’ wishes, after falling in love when working in a cement factory in Chengalpattu. The couple also has a three-year-old daughter. For the past few months, Karnan has been out of a job, resulting in friction between the couple. After Rahul’s birth, the rift widened. Rahul’s self-ignition disturbed Rajeswari, who attempted suicide by consuming pesticide.

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