‘Human sacrifice’ in Kerala: two women killed, couple among three persons held

A lottery vendor and a resident of Kalady were brutally murdered as part of an occult for economic wellbeing of accused couple

October 11, 2022 12:55 pm | Updated October 12, 2022 10:38 am IST - KOCHI

Kerala State Women’s Commission chairperson P. Satheedevi interacts with Kochi Deputy Police Commissioner S. Sasidharan near the house at Elanthoor, Pathanamathitta, where two women were murdered.

Kerala State Women’s Commission chairperson P. Satheedevi interacts with Kochi Deputy Police Commissioner S. Sasidharan near the house at Elanthoor, Pathanamathitta, where two women were murdered. | Photo Credit: Leju Kamal

Two women were killed in two separate ‘ritualistic human sacrifices’ over three months by three accused persons at Elanthoor in Pathanamthitta district.

The overnight interrogation of the accused — Shafi alias Rasheed, a resident of Perumbavur in Ernakulam, and a couple, Bhagaval Singh and Laila of Elanthoor in Pathanamthitta — by Kochi city police led to the explosive revelation of the twin murders.

Padmam, a lottery vendor from Ponnurunni in Ernakulam and Rosli, a resident of Kalady near Angamaly, were the ones suspected to have been brutally murdered as part of an occult for the alleged economic wellbeing of the couple. Both women had been missing leading to registration of cases by Kadavanthra police of Kochi city and Kalady police of Ernakulam Rural respectively.

Also Read | Ritualistic human sacrifice draws widespread condemnation and raises questions about tracing missing persons fast

The accused were taken into custody in connection with the case registered by Kadavanthra police. It was during the interrogation that the accused confessed to have ‘sacrificed’ another woman in a similar manner months back.

“While Padmam was murdered in the last week of September, the other woman was killed in June. All three accused were involved in the brutal murder of both women and their bodies were buried side-by-side within the property of the couple. Whether there was a racket engaged in such human sacrifices and whether more people were involved in these murders remain to be investigated. The accused had confessed to the crime and we have corroborated their statements,” said C.H. Nagaraju, District Police Chief (Kochi City).

Also Read | Key accused in ‘human sacrifice’ case is a rape-accused

Shafi was paid for arranging the women though it’s not clear how much. Bhagaval Singh was reportedly an indigenous medicine practitioner and wasn’t doing well financially. The couple was allegedly advised to conduct human sacrifices for a change in their fortunes and Shafi encouraged it.

The jobless Shafi allegedly wooed the victims by dangling monetary benefits knowing full well about their impending fate. “Whatever they (victims) might have been told wasn’t what eventually happened to them,” said Mr. Nagaraju.

Also Read | Human sacrifice: victims’ families shocked

An exhumation process has been initiated to recover the bodies, which were reportedly hacked into pieces and buried. The bodies will also have to be subjected to DNA tests. The accused have been taken to the crime scene for evidence collection. Their arrests are likely to be recorded once they were brought back to Kochi late in the night.

“This is a very complicated case with many layers. It is a shocking case; not one expected to hear from Kerala,” said Mr. Nagaraju.

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