'Ghosts' patrol streets in Indonesia to keep citizens indoors during the coronavirus lockdown

Indonesian folktale ghosts called 'Pocongs', have been deployed at Kepuh in java Island that jump in front of people to scare them so that people stay indoors during the lockdown

After trying all measures to keep people inside during the lockdown, Kepuh in Java Island in Indonesia has turned towards ghosts to make the lockdown effective.

The administrators of Kepuh village have deployed volunteers who come out as ghosts wearing white shrouds and powdered faces to patrol the village. Called 'Pocong', they are known in local tales as a shrouded ghost, popularly believed by people in Indonesia and Malaysia. A Pocong is said to be the soul of a dead person trapped in its shroud.

Spooking people into compliance

Incidents of Pocongs jumping in front of people loitering around during the lockdown were reported in Kepuh. They were seen 'gliding' under the full-moon sky. The head of the village group is said to have joined hands with the police in trying out a different as well as a scary way to keep people inside their homes and make people practise social distancing.

Reports claim that this method has been the most effective in keeping people inside. Reuters had reported that when its correspondents visited Kepuh, villagers were seen running off as they saw the men in shrouds. Especially, children and parents are not seen on roads due to the Pocongs roaming around the city.

Pocon shrouded ghost
Twitter Image for representation only

Random scares to keep people indoors

Though this superstition is widely believed (rather making people afraid), initially when Pocongs were seen in Kepuh, instead of running away, the news made people storm out of their houses to catch a glimpse of the Pocongs they had only heard about so far.

But rather than the continuous appearance of Pocongs, it is their random sightings including jumping in front of people, at the most unexpected moments,that has made people keep themselves inside than encounter them.

Country under partial lockdown

Currently, Indonesia is under partial lockdown and has enforced strict rules of social distancing. Soldiers and police are making sure that lockdown rules are followed strictly. Those who violate rules are fined heavily and are also sentenced to one-year jail term. Gatherings of more than five people have been banned. Restaurants are only allowed to provide take away services.

Public transport has also been shutdown. In addition, motorbike taxis popularly used in Indonesia have been banned from offering services. As of April 13, Indonesia has recorded 4,241 confirmed cases and 373 deaths due to coronavirus.

Related topics : Coronavirus