A man and his wife have been arrested after two women were abducted, tortured, and beheaded as part of what has been described as black magic human sacrifice ritual in India.
Bhagaval Singh, a traditional healer and his wife Laila, and Mohammed Shafi, an ‘occult practitioner’, were detained in Kerala after the horrific killings that have shocked the country.
The two victims have been identified as Padmam, 57, and Rosili, 49.
The remains of the women were found on Tuesday, October 11, near Singh’s home in Pathanamthitta, and the pair were allegedly murdered months apart from each other.
Police say they were ‘severely tortured’ and the accused have confessed and are in judicial custody.
The suspects allegedly lured the victims, who sold lottery tickets, by promising them money.
Shafi is said to have befriended the victims through social media after creating a fake profile, then encouraged them to carry out the sacrifice. But instead, they beheaded them and chopped up their bodies, police said.
DNA samples have been sent for testing because the women’s families were unable to identify their mutilated corpses.
Cochin Police Commissioner CH Nagaraju said the killings took place over four months and were part of a ritual performed for ‘financial benefits’.
He said the presumed motive was based on a ‘preliminary assumption’ and they are still investigating the causes.
He added: ‘We have already got the confessional statements of the couple and the agent. The women were killed by the couple in a very cruel manner.
‘The couple had been facing a financial crisis and they decided to sacrifice the women to appease God and come out of the crisis.’
According to Mail Online, Padnam was reported missing by her son last month after she disappeared from her one-room dwelling in Kochi where she had been living since February. Her sister Palaniamma visited the house after not hearing from her but found it locked and Padnam’s phone was also switched off.
Police traced it to Pathanamthitta and saw several phone calls had been made by Shafi, who had also been contacting Singh.
When Singh was questioned, he admitted to the crime, police said.
Rosili went missing on June 8 and her daughter Manju who works as a teacher filed a complaint with police who failed to find any leads.