The life of the five-year-old Dalit girl was sacrificed based on the superstitious belief that the sprinkling of her blood at the construction site will give the proposed structure life and enduring strength.

Rajalakshmi, daughter of poor agriculture laborers Thotthan and Annakili of Kachakatti, was killed on new moon day. The state of the body and the manner in which the child was murdered had sent shockwaves among the villagers.

Construction sacrifice

Dalit activists who spoke about the issue said that as the victims of human sacrifice were often strangers or marginal members of the community the practice was rarely challenged. It was based on “construction sacrifice,” a practice done during the execution of building projects.

There are two categories: a sacrifice made to please supernatural possessors of the land for obtaining the title of the land; and another to bring the proposed structure to life by warding off evil spirits. This case belonged to the second category.

PUCL, CPI (ML)'s role

A People's Union for Civil Liberties team led by R. Murali, principal, Madura College, found that the murder could have had no economic or social reason as all people in the colony were Dalits.

Mr. Murali said that they concluded that it must have been a case of human sacrifice as the child was found missing a day before Amavasai. Also, a person who indulged in black magic in the area was missing since the day of the murder. The PUCL found that there was not a single drop of blood in the body and the flesh near the child's face had been cut using a sharp weapon.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) demanded Rs.10 lakh compensation for the family of the victim.

C. Mathivanan, district secretary, CPI (ML), said those protecting the offenders and destroying evidence should be brought to book. The government should take strong action to end ensure that no one involved in such practices hereafter.