India 'witch doctor' sentenced to death for beheading boy

Published: April 16, 2013


RAIPUR: An Indian “witch doctor” who beheaded an 11-year-old boy and offered the head as a sacrifice to a goddess to improve his fortunes has been sentenced to death, police said Tuesday.

A local court in impoverished Chhattisgarh state in central India convicted 32-year-old Dilip Rathia on Monday of murder and sentenced him to hang for beheading the boy, police said.

“We proved the man beheaded the boy and his head was offered to the local goddess to obtain better luck,” investigating officer Praful Thakur told AFP by telephone.

The case, which highlights the persistence of occult beliefs in remote areas, came to light when police found the child’s headless skeleton in the tribal-dominated village of Barpali in Raigarh district, 195 kilometres northeast of state capital Raipur.

Forensic tests proved the skeleton was that of an 11-year-old boy named Praveen who disappeared in February 2012 while visiting a village fair, Thakur said.

Police, acting on a tip-off, raided the home of a man said by locals to be a “witch doctor” where they found the child’s head.

The man was “practicing witchcraft” and “was convicted on charges of murder, hiding evidence and giving false information to conceal the offence”, local police official Rahul Bhagat told AFP.

Human sacrifices in deeply religious and superstitious India usually occur in poorer areas where some people fear and revere practitioners of so-called black magic.

The victims are ritually killed by witch doctors to please or appease deities.

In a recent widely-publicised case of suspected child sacrifice, the bodies of a two-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl were found at a home in the industrial town of Bhilai in Chhattisgarh in November 2010.

Seven months before that, the decapitated body of a factory worker was found in a temple in the eastern state of West Bengal.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Rizwan T.
    Apr 16, 2013 - 7:10PM

    Shocking how in this day and age, such ancient rituals exist in India. So much for hiding it all behind flashy, modern entertainment instead of actually getting rid of problems.

    Hope justice is done.Recommend

  • gotti
    Apr 16, 2013 - 7:27PM

    Depressing to say the least.
    Waiting for the MUFC (Modi United Fan Club) trolls on the crusade to conquer the Pakistani webosphere, to vehemently condemn this senseless act of beheading a youthful 11-year old boy, over superstitions that they laugh at, in their living rooms, but are likely to put a spin on, here by trying to validate it as an act of legitimate “sacrifice”.


  • Stranger
    Apr 16, 2013 - 7:58PM

    What is the world coming to . Education is the only key to root out such practices.


  • dude
    Apr 16, 2013 - 8:43PM

    @Rizwan T.:
    its impossible for such a country like India to eliminate such activities 100% with in a day or even some year. use your commonsense.


  • gp65
    Apr 17, 2013 - 3:01AM

    @gotti: No reasonable Indian would defend such occurrences. Unlike Pakistan where completely backward decisions of tribal jirgas go unpunished and in some cases even defended by parliamenterians – remember Zehri, or Kohistan video case? At least in India, no one publicly dares to endorse such heinous acts.

    @Rizwan T.: “Hope justice is done.”

    HE is sentenced to death – did you not see the headline. What else did you have in mind when you said ‘ hope justice is done’?


  • Asim
    Apr 17, 2013 - 12:58PM

    Pakistan or India, a human life is priceless. Anyone who takes or defends taking of Human Life in any manner is not acceptable in any religion or country . People who defend such acts are criminals themselves in my eyes and should not be used to justify the will of the people of any country. It is sad when Government officials defend these acts done by people in the name of religion and traditions.


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