A ‘psychopath’ Indian witch doctor and his married-couple clients have been accused of chopping up women in human sacrifices — even cooking and partially eating them.
Convicted rapist Mohammed Shafi was arrested this week along with husband and wife Bhagaval and Laila Singh after the partial remains of two women were dug up in the couple’s yard, police said Wednesday.
They “brutally abused and killed” the women in rituals three months apart, police spokesman Pramod Kumar told Agence France-Presse.
“The murders were brutal … The manner of killing is indescribable,” Kochi City Police Commissioner CH Nagaraju told the Indian Times.
The victims, both women in their 50s, were tortured for an hour before they were beheaded and dismembered — with one hacked into 56 pieces, a senior police source told The Hindustan Times.
Laila Singh later confessed to eating parts of the bodies — claiming witch doctor Shafi promised it would bring them riches, police said.
“A portion of the bodies were cooked and consumed by the three accused,” the local commissioner told the paper.
After the killings, Shafi — who had only been released this year for the rape and attempted murder of a 75-year-old woman — had sex with Laila Singh while her husband prayed nearby, the reports said.
Police believe Shafi was the ringleader, saying he hoodwinked the hard-up couple after befriending them on Facebook.
Shafi “is a psychopath and a sexual pervert, and the one who derives sexual pleasure and will go to any extent — even to kill for it,” the police commissioner said, further calling him “a sadist.”
“Shafi is a hardcore criminal and refused to cooperate with the probe,” the commissioner said.
But “when all three were questioned together, Laila broke down and gave us details of the two murders, blaming Shafi for them,” he said.
She said that she and her husband were having financial troubles with their massage-parlor business, and Shafi convinced them that “human sacrifice was the way to great riches,” police told AFP.
Their first victim — only identified as Roslin, a woman in her 50s — was cut into five pieces after being lured to the house in June, a senior police source told the outlet.
Singh had cut off her breasts after the murder, the reports said.
After that sacrifice did not bring about the desired wealth, they killed again in September, this time chopping 52-year-old victim P. Padma into 56 pieces, the source said.
Shafi mutilated Padma’s genitals and slit her throat, Asian News International (ANI) said.
“The second murder was far more brutal because after the first, Singh reached out to Shafi complaining that he had seen no gain in material wealth, and was told that there needed to be a more gruesome sacrifice because the family was under a curse,” the Hindustan Times’ source said.
All three appeared in court on Wednesday where they were ordered held for 14 days ahead of another hearing.
An investigation is continuing into whether there may have been more victims, police confirmed.
“Abducting and killing people for wealth and superstitious beliefs is a crime which is beyond imagination in a state like Kerala,” Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the local media.
Experts say belief in witchcraft and the occult remains widespread in many tribal and remote areas of India, where occasional incidents of human sacrifice have been reported, AFP noted.
Earlier this month two men were arrested for allegedly killing a six-year-old child in the capital New Delhi, reports said.
The construction workers told police they were under the influence of cannabis and murdered the boy as a sacrifice to the Hindu god Shiva to get rich.