Bhubhaneswar: At least 15 devotees, mostly women, were injured on Sunday at Sialia under Rajkanika tehsil of Odisha’s Kendrapara district after being stung by a swarm of honeybees near a place of worship.
As the devotees lit incense sticks to offer puja to Kharakhai deity in the village, the honey bees ensconced on a banyan tree distracted by smoke from the incense sticks wrought havoc stinging the devotees. Majority of the injured persons were women and children. The puja ritual had to be abruptly stopped for over an hour as bees swarmed, said the temple priest, Sarat Kumar Pati. After the insects returned to their beehives, the puja resumed, he added.
The injured persons are undergoing treatment at the local government-run hospital. All of them are out of danger, police said. Several incidents of honeybee attacks in villages have been reported in past years.
Honeybees had stalled a last rite ritual at a crematorium in Thakurhaat village on the outskirts of Kendrapara town on December 19 after around 30 pallbearers were stung and injured by the insects.
Last year in April, a 62-year-old man had died after being stung by honeybees in Kabilipur village under Patkura police station area.
An octogenarian woman had died after being stung by honeybees in Patalipanka village while a 65-year-old man had met the similar fate in Alijanga village in the year 2013.
The bees had laid siege in a hospital in Patkura, the block development office in Kendrapara besides a school in Mahakalpada in past months.