Friday, December 3, 2010
Sad:-( Second Indian 'child sacrifice' murder claim
Police in the central state of Chhattisgarh said they had arrested 11 people including a "witchdoctor" and his wife after the body of a two-year-old boy was discovered in their house on Wednesday.
Further searches of the property in the industrial town of Bhilai, about 45 kilometres (30 miles) from state capital Raipur, revealed the skeletal remains of a second victim, a six-year-old girl.
The accused man had confessed to killing both children to acquire "occult power and good fortune," police told AFP on Thursday, adding that there was a "worship room" in the home.
"The witchdoctor, his family and six other people have been arrested on suspicion of holding human sacrifices," district police chief Amit Kumar told AFP.
Parents of the two-year-old had alerted authorities after he went missing while playing on the street earlier this week.
The girl is believed to have been abducted nearby in March. Her body was found buried inside the house beneath a trident symbol.
Human sacrifices occasionally make headlines in deeply religious and superstitious India, and usually occur in poor areas where some people revere practitioners of black magic.
The victims are ritually killed by witchdoctors to please or appease gods, spirits or deities.
Unusually, the latest cases were in a city, Bhilai, which is one of the more modern and urban areas of the otherwise under-developed state of Chhattisgarh.
The heavily forested and resource-rich region is a stronghold of the rebel Maoist movement, which has successfully tapped into disaffection in local tribal groups about economic development, police brutality and corruption.
A.K. Saikia, a senior police officer who has investigated numerous cases of child sacrifices, says the methods employed by witchdoctors who target children are usually similar.
They befriend them, lure them to their houses by offering sweets or toys, and then kill them, sometimes after drugging them.
"The witchdoctors believe that the act of killing a child will make them immortal," Saikia told AFP from his state Assam, in India's far north east.
The other deadly side of witchcraft in India is when women are accused of dabbling in the dark arts and are then driven from their villages and murdered.
At least four women have been killed in the last three years in Assam on suspicion of being witches or witch doctors, Saikia said
The Science and Rationalists' Association of India, which fights against superstition in India, says women accused of being witches are sometimes stripped in public and some are gagged and burnt to death.
"Villagers believe in witchcraft often due to helplessness. Absence of medical facilities forces them to rely on quacks," said Prabir Ghosh, the association's general secretary.
In March, a married couple in rural western India were arrested for allegedly killing five young boys because a mystic told them it would help the woman conceive.
"The government has to take education to remote villages to end these inhuman acts," said Indian author Akhilesh Kumar, who wrote "Kala Insaaf" (Black Justice), a Hindi-language book on black magic.
In April, in another widely publicised case of suspected human sacrifice, a decapitated body of a factory worker was found in a temple in the eastern state of West Bengal.