BENGALURU: Mohammed Vasil was the go-to man in times of trouble in Sunakal village in Magadi taluk. The entire village looked up to him. Even the parents of 10-year-old Ayesha B approached Vasil when their daughter went missing on March 1.
But little did they know then that it was Vasil, whom they trusted, and his accomplices who were allegedly responsible for her disappearance and subsequent murder in a case of human sacrifice last week.
There is a sense of disbelief, anger and betrayal in Sunakal over Vasil’s alleged role in Ayesha’s killing.
Vasil, his sister Rashidunnisa (33), black magic practitioner Naseem Taj and a minor boy were arrested for killing the girl to allegedly cure Vasil’s brother Rafiq of paralysis. The girl’s body was found in a canal in Magadi on Friday. Police said the canal was behind a religious centre run by Vasil.
Vasil and Naseema are considered by many in the locality as experts in black magic.
‘A respected man’
When Express visited Ayesha’s house on Monday, her parents and neighbours explained how Vasil was revered in the village.
Rehana, a neighbour, said, “Mohammed Vasil was the head of the masjid in the town and had earned respect within and outside the community. His post as head of masjid came to him through his family.”
She added that if a child suffered an illness, they would visit the hospital, but also consult Vasil. “He would give us a religious thread to tie around the child’s neck. We also sought his assistance to fix the date and time for ‘nikaah’ (wedding).”
“His black magic was restricted to religious threads and even in our harshest dreams we didn’t think he would kill somebody,” she added.
Reshma, a relative of Ayesha, said, “He served as the secretary and chief of the masjid for many years. People believed that children would get cured of illnesses after wearing the thread he gave. Even Ayesha was taken to Vasil a few years ago when she fell ill.”
Reshma clarified that most parents approached him only after taking their children to a doctor first.
Ayesha’s mother, Jamila Banu, said, “Ayesha went missing on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning we had filed a complaint with the police. We also asked Mohammed Vasil to help us with his powers. He asked us to give him a piece of cloth with Ayesha’s scent on it. I gave him Ayesha’s uniform in which Vasil placed a lemon and a lock.
“He told us that she would return home in 24 hours but we later came to know that he had killed my daughter. It was hard to believe initially, but as police described his acts, we realised his true nature.”
“Mohammed Vasil has three girls but he did not hesitate to kill my daughter,” she said as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Vasil also practised astrology and black magic at his house.