Religious Human Sacrifices Still Common In India

Religious Human Sacrifices Still Common In India
Religious Human Sacrifices Still Common In India

In a shocking case of ritual human sacrifice, police in India have arrested five people for the murder of Shanti Shaw at the Kamakhya Temple in Assam state’s capital Guwahati. As reported by CBS News, Shaw was beheaded with a machete as an “offering” to the temple goddess. Police had been investigating since June 2019 but only recently managed to identify the alleged killers using technical data linking them to the victim.

The Accused and Their Motives

  • Pradeep Pathak, 52, stands accused of orchestrating the killing to mark the anniversary of his brother’s death. He allegedly wanted to perform a Hindu ritual on the date of his brother’s death in memory of him.
  • Four other suspects between the ages of 50 and 62 were also arrested over the past week in two Indian states.
  • Police remain on the lookout for seven of their accomplices.

A Disturbing Trend?

This is not the first time that India has seen cases of ritual human sacrifices. According to official data, there were more than 100 reported cases between 2014 and 2021. It remains unclear whether this is a growing trend or simply better reporting and investigation.

In another disturbing incident, an Indian couple has allegedly died by suicide using a guillotine-like mechanism to decapitate themselves in a sacrificial ritual. Hemubhai Makwana, 38, and his wife Hansaben, 35, both died by decapitation after using a homemade bladed mechanism in a hut on their farm in the western state of Gujarat, police said.

The Ritual and Its Design

Fire is considered sacred in Hinduism and plays a significant role in several worship rituals. The couple apparently designed the device used in their beheading in such a way that their heads would roll into the fire altar, completing their sacrificial ritual.

Police have launched an investigation and found a suicide note addressed to family members. The couple is survived by two children and their parents. Family members reportedly told police that the pair had offered prayers in the hut every day for the last year.

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