Close on the heels of killing of a 7-year-old boy due to superstition of getting wealth through human sacrifice in Chitrakoot, another similar case was reported from Noida where two people, who allegedly kidnapped a seven-year-old girl to "sacrifice" her for an occult practice on Holi, were arrested on Tuesday and the child was rescued, police said.
One of the accused, a neighbour of the child, was finding it hard to get married and had consulted an occultist, who suggested to him the method to please the gods in order to get married.
The occultist had been identified but was at large, the police said.
The child, who lived in Chhijarsi village and had gone missing last Sunday, was rescued from Baghpat district, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Noida) Harish Chander said.
He said the locals in Chhijarsi, which falls under Sector 63 police station limits, had launched a search immediately but the child could not be found after which they approached the police.
"An FIR was registered promptly under Indian Penal Code Section 363 (missing). Searches were launched while over 200 people were tracked through CCTV footage for their connection with the incident after which the two accused were zeroed in on and arrested through manual inputs," Chander said.
Those held have been identified as Sonu Balmiki and his associate Neetu while three more people, including occultist Satendra, are at large, he added. The officer said the arrested accused do not have any criminal history but they frequently consumed liquor.
"Sonu, who lived in the same neighbourhood, was unmarried. He contacted Satendra, who told him that if a human being was sacrificed, he would get married. Subsequently, this child was kidnapped and the accused said they could have sacrificed the child on Holi," DCP Chander told reporters.
"Due to policeRs s efforts, the child has been rescued safely. The two main accused have been arrested while three others involved in the incident and are absconding will soon be held," he said.
Chander said a sister of Sonu lives in Baghpat district and the child was kept there and they had planned to sacrifice her in Baghpat.
Commissioner of Police Alok Singh announced a Rs 50,000 reward for the police team involved in cracking the case, DCP Chander said.
Further legal proceedings in the case were underway, the police said.
Meanwhile in a shocking incident, a 16-year-old girl was allegedly abducted and gang-raped by three persons, including a juvenile, when she went to a field near her house in Etah district, police said on Wednesday.
According to the police, the three accused abducted the girl and dropped her at a market in Aliganj after committing the crime.
Following the incident, the girl somehow managed to return home the next day and narrated the incident to her family members, who alerted police. However, police refused to register an FIR against the accused, the victim's kin claimed.
"After my sister went missing on March 7, we searched for her the whole night. Next day, she returned home and narrated the entire incident. We took her to the police station to file a rape report but they (cops) refused. After being persuaded by villagers and local leaders, an FIR was finally registered on March 12," the victim's brother revealed.
Police denied the allegation leveled by the victim's family members.
"An FIR has been registered under IPC sections 376-D (gang-rape), 363 (kidnapping) and sections of the POCSO Act. The matter is under investigation. Special teams have been assigned to nab the culprits," Deputy Superintendent of Police Raj Kumar Singh said.
The juvenile, one of the accused in the case, is the victim's neighbour, police disclosed.
The victim's father said that he had been receiving death threats from one of the accused's family members.
"They want us to withdraw our complaint," he said.