GORKILLA: A few days after alleged human sacrifice in West Bengal’s most literate district Purba Medinipur came to light, panic has gripped near and far villages, with residents fearing for their womenfolk.
“Our village had no history of tantric activity. If outsiders are coming and killing women in the name of human sacrifice, it is very dangerous for our womenfolk,” said Rahuldev Mondal of Gorkilla village.
A headless nude body of a teenaged girl was found in a betle nut grove in Gorkilla village in Purba Medinipur district on October 15.
The presence of elaborate tantric-style markings on the body, including vermilion, red paint on ankles, blood in a clay cup fixed near the private part, neem twigs circumventing the body and a red-coloured cloth covering the headless neck, have given rise to speculations of human sacrifice on the night of October 14. The body was sent for post-mortem in Midnapore town in Paschim Medinipur.
Though police suspect human sacrifice by tantric practitioners, they also do not rule out other possibilities.
“Even if any tantric practitioners were brought from Kamakhya in Assam or from Odisha, the sacrifice would not have taken place without local support ,” said Sub-divisional Investigation Cell officer Mihir Sahoo.
Chandicharan Manna, in whose grove the body was found, says neither he nor his family members heard any sounds from the grove on the night of October 14, on Lakshmi Puja, despite being just 100 metres from his house.
“We were busy watching Bengali soaps on TV. We did not hear any sound from the grove,” he said.
Meanwhile, a section of people alleges gang-rape and cover up using human sacrifice speculations. “If her head was severed in the grove, there should have been blood sprinkled all over. But blood was seen only near the neck. We doubt she was raped, strangulated and then head cut and all tantric-style cover up given to show that it as human sacrifice. Tantric don’t sacrifice dead people,” said Badal Singha, a local resident.
However, most residents of Gorkilla and neighbouring villages believed that it is a case of human sacrifice and ruled out the rape and murder angle. “Human sacrifices are done on smashaan (cremation ground) on ‘Amavasya’ (new moon day). October 14 was a Purnima (full moon day),” said primary school teacher Sukhendu Mondal of Jagannathpur village.
“For human sacrifice, a pre-puberty child is chosen. In this case, naphthalene balls were found inside the private part of the girl. And generally, red or white cloth is draped for human sacrifice, not naked,” said priest Sarbanicharan Mishra of Sitala temple.
Meanwhile, the SUCI staged a gherao of the District Magistrate and SP office in Tamluk on Monday demanding justice.
With 87 per cent literacy rate, Purba Medinipur was known to have shred tantric activities decades ago.