Locals say the practice started with a rumor about a man who tried to kill himself by lying in front of a train. He was fed up after medical treatment failed to cure his paralysis. According to hearsay, while he was lying on the tracks he suddenly felt cured.
While it might look like they are protesting against something or staging some sort of mass suicide, the people of Rawa Buaya are actually hoping to cure their illnesses by sprawling across the train tracks.
From young children to the elderly, many spend time lying down across railway lines in the mistaken belief that a low-voltage electric current in the tracks will cure them as it passes through their bodies.
Even the potentially lethal trains passing on opposite tracks don’t seem to be scaring them away.
Rail authorities in Jakarta erected signs back in 2007 warning of the dangers of the craze, and threatened penalties of a three-month jail term and fines for those who disregard the ban on the practice. “We have repeatedly urged them not to do it because it is very dangerous,” said railway spokesman Mateta Rizalulhaq.