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In a bizarre incident that took place in the Bhimtal town of the Nainital district, a principal in-charge of a government high school reportedly called exorcists over to cure a few girls he believes were possessed.

The village and school management are said to have carried out a ritual at the Kairagaon school after principal in-charge Chhatrapal Singh said that a girl in class seven behaved strangely and appeared to have been possessed.

A class 7 student was possessed last Thursday and started doing bizarre activities like breaking chairs and shouting loudly," he told Hindustan Times. "When other girls tried to calm her down and offered water, the influence spread to them as well. Over the next 3-4 days, five girls were possessed. They started shouting loudly, dancing, jumping here and there."

Singh also claimed that the girls were crying loudly and seemed scared, but none of the boys in the school were affected. When he felt that the issue was becoming serious, he spoke to village head Madan Singh Nauliya, and they decided to perform 'Jagar' in the classroom. Jagar is a form of ancestor spirit worship and is performed by specific priests who special in this kind of worship.

The ritual was performed on Tuesday, February 5, and Nauliya said that the village and school management decided to carry out the Jagar soon as around 14 girls had been "influenced" by then.

The girls calmed down after Jagar was conducted. They also informed that there is a problem with a room which functioned as the classroom for standard 8. So as of now, a picture of Goddess Saraswati and a lit earthen lamp were placed in the classroom and it has been locked," Nauliya told HT.

The village head also said that the priests were consulted on why the spirits had become active now even though the school has been there for years and said that the priests explained that spirits sometimes take years — even 20 years — to get active. "He said even on the buildings constructed above a graveyard, the spirits may not cause any trouble for up to 14 to 20 years and reveal themselves only later," the village head added.

Meanwhile, Singh said that the particular classroom has been locked for now and another room is being used to conduct the classes. The principal in-charge also explained that the school plans to observe things until Sunday, and if everything goes well a prayer service will be conducted in the room so that such incidents aren't repeated in the future.

Though the school and the village management seemed satisfied with the ritual, many believe that there is no logic behind such activities and district education officer Kamlesh Pal Gupta has now sought a report from the block-level education officer.