11 arrested following ‘human sacrifice’ in Nepal

The police have arrested 10 people

July 28, 2015 02:37 am | Updated April 01, 2016 04:19 pm IST - KATHMANDU/NEW DELHI:

The police found a boy’s body on the banks of a river in Kudiya, a farming Nepalese village near the Indian border. His throat had been slit.

The boy, Jivan Kohar, 10, had been missing since Tuesday, the same day that a neighbour hosted a gathering of villagers in which he said that his own son was ill, possessed by evil spirits, and would need a human sacrifice.

“Nobody took him seriously,” said Ram Baran Kohar, Jivan’s paternal grandfather, who was at the gathering.

Jivan’s body was discovered on Friday.

The suspects

The police in the Nawalparasi district, which includes Kudiya, said on Sunday that 11 people had been arrested in the boy’s death, including Bijay Chamar (18), the son who had fallen ill, and members of his family.

Inspector Jagat Bhandu Pokharel of the Beltari area police, who originally handled the case before it was transferred to the district police, said that Chamar’s father, Kodai Chamar, had confessed to the crime.

Nepal is a majority Hindu country, and animal sacrifice is not uncommon — the country hosts a festival believed to involve the largest ritual slaughter of animals in the world.

“People mainly from remote parts of the country have superstitious beliefs,” said Mr. Pokharel. Yet he said he had never seen anything like “this kind of human sacrifice.”

Mr. Pokharel said that Jivan was lured from his home on Tuesday with a packet of biscuits and 50 Nepalese rupees. According to Mr. Pokharel, Kodai Chamar said in a statement that on Tuesday evening he summoned relatives along with a local holy man to his home for a prayer ritual for Bijay Chamar. During the ritual, he cut Jivan’s throat with a sickle, the statement said.

The holy man, Ganga Chamar, was among those arrested. He is not believed to be related to the family.

The superintendent of police for the Nawalparasi district, Nal Prasad Upadhyay, said that the investigation was continuing and that the suspects would be examined to determine whether they were “mentally fit.”

Relatives of Jivan returned from the fields on Tuesday evening to find that he had vanished.

The parents, having learned of the gathering that took place earlier that day, immediately confronted the Chamars, said Ram Baran Kohar, the grandfather.

“They denied it,” he said. “We could not blame them without proof.”

Jivan’s mother was too ill to speak, and Lal Bahadur Kohar, an uncle of the boy, said that he had been unable to eat.

“They had never imagined this kind of madness,” Lal Bahadur Kohar said.

— New York Times News Service

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