Guwahati, India: Five men have been arrested for human sacrifice nearly four years after Indian police found the victim’s headless body in a Hindu temple.
Shanti Shaw, 64, was stabbed and decapitated in 2019 after visiting a temple in Guwahati, a remote city in northeast India.
Police made no headway on the case until Shaw’s body was finally identified in January, prompting a new investigation to track down several culprits while others were still far-reaching.
Guwahati Police Commissioner Diganta Barah told reporters late on Tuesday (4/4) that “five planned to kill the women”. “A total of 12 people participated.”
Barah said the alleged ringleader, 52-year-old Pradeep Pathak, orchestrated the killing as part of a religious ceremony to mark the anniversary of his brother’s death.
He added, “The accused seems to have believed that the sacrifice would appease the soul of the deceased.”
Pathak and four others were detained between March 25 and April 1, and police are still looking for the remaining seven accomplices.
India’s National Crime Records Bureau has received 103 human victims between 2014 and 2021.
Ritual killings are usually performed to appease the gods and are more common in tribal and remote areas where belief in witchcraft and the occult is prevalent.
Last year, two men were arrested for the murder of a 6-year-old boy in the capital, New Delhi.
The perpetrators, two construction workers, told police they killed the child as a sacrifice to the Hindu god Shiva to get rich.