In a shocking case of alleged human sacrifice, two women were allegedly abducted and murdered in Kerala. The bodies were found chopped to pieces and buried in the backyard of a house belonging to a married couple, Bhagaval Singh and Laila, in Elanthoor village of Pathanamthitta district, on Tuesday, 11 October.
One person, Rasheed alias Mohammed Shafi, is arrested as the prime accused in the case.
The deceased women have been identified as 49-year-old Rosily and 52-year-old Padmam, who both sold lottery tickets in different parts of Ernakulam for a living.
The investigation began a few weeks ago after the family of Padmam, who hailed from Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu and sold lottery tickets at Ernakulam South Railway Station, filed a complaint, stating she had been missing since 27 September, the Kadavanthra Police told The Quint. "Padmam's sister said she would speak to her on the phone every evening. When she stopped attending calls, the sister approached us," a police officer said.
The police added that after examining CCTV footage, they found Padmam getting into a Scorpio car with another man, who they later identified as Rasheed alias Mohammed Shafi. As per the preliminary probe, Shafi is responsible for the abduction and murder of the two women.
Shafi has been arrested, while the couple, Bhagaval Singh and Laila, are currently in police custody and are being questioned.
The bodies of the two women are being exhumed from the couple's backyard, the police stated.
'Shafi Suspected To Be an Agent': Police
The Kadavantra Police said, "When Shafi, who was the owner of the Scorpio, was questioned initially, he said that he never used the car on the said date and that it was rented out to someone. On further questioning, he revealed that he abducted Padmam as well as Rosily, and murdered them for a ritual for the prosperity of the couple in Pathanamthitta," the police said.
The police said that he worked as an "agent" for such rituals and was commissioned by the couple to carry out the alleged human sacrifice.
According to The News Minute, Shafi created a fake social media profile and contacted Bhagaval Singh, pretending to be a woman named Sreedevi. Shafi told Singh that a tantric could ensure his financial prosperity and then later introduced himself to Bhagaval and his wife as the tantric. He then suggested they take up the 'human sacrifice' of the two women.
"Their throats were slit, and their bodies were chopped into pieces and buried in Pathanamthitta," the police said.
Kerala High Court Expresses 'Disbelief'
The Kerala High Court, on Tuesday, expressed disbelief over the news of the brutal murder of the two women. "The fact that we are hearing about human sacrifice in Kerala is beyond shocking," Justice Devan Ramachandran was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also expressed shock over the incident and said that the police were doing their best to arrest all the culprits at the earliest. "In addition to punishments for the crime, there must also be broader awareness to help identify such depravities," he said.
Political Slugfest Ensues
Kerala Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief, K Surendran, meanwhile, alleged that Bhagaval Singh, one of the persons involved in the women's murder, was a member of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist).
"He is a known CPI(M) leader. He is also in charge of the farmers' wing of the party. If you look at his Facebook posts, this is evident," Surendran said.
However, CPI(M) leader MA Baby confirmed that Bhagaval was not a member of the party even if he may have participated in party activities in the past. He also condemned the brutal incident and said that the culprits would be brought before the law.
(With inputs from The News Minute and Bar and Bench.)