Having failed to unravel the mystery of the unidentified nocturnal flying object that allegedly claws the faces of its victims, the Uttar Pradesh government has urged the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, to send a team of scientists to find out what it is that is stalking villages in Mirzapur and other districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
The problem has become so rampant in certain rural pockets of Mirzapur, Gonda, Basti, Allahabad and Sultanpur districts that locals have coined their own name for the entity, "muhnochwa" (pronounced mooh-knowtch-wa), literally, someone who claws the face.
Uttar Pradesh Home Secretary Dipti Vilas told reporters, "We have requested IIT Kanpur to send its experts to find out if some remote device is being used by mischief-mongers to create this trouble."
"According to reports received so far," he said, "some strange, brightly lit object comes flying towards its victims and leaves claw marks as it flies off."
Local police have failed to identify the object, though in some places they have attributed it to superstition or a psychological phenomenon.
Reports say the object even scared away policemen at some places.
People in the affected areas are so terror-stricken that villages look deserted as soon as the sun sets, while innocent strangers have been attacked on suspicion of being the "muhnochwa".
Some eyewitnesses have described it a "football-like" object, others say it looks like a "tortoise". But everyone agrees that it is brightly lit.
Dipti Vilas confirmed that irate villagers have lynched at least a dozen persons mistaking them for the 'muhnochwa' since the 'creature' began doing its rounds a month ago.
Because the attacks have always been carried out in the dark, the home department has written to the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation to ensure enhanced power supply in the affected villages.
"Villages normally get just about eight hours of power supply in a day; but we have now asked the power corporation to provide 16 hours of supply to the affected villages," Dipti Vilas said.
Back to top
Tell us what you think of this report