A self-styled exorcist killed a two-and-a-half-year-old boy in the name of "sacrifice" in Kheragarh tehsil of the Agra district.
The accused, Bhola alias Hukam Singh, a self-styled exorcist who was arrested by the police on Tuesday night, killed Hrithik “to please Chamad Mata” in the village.
As per the police, the accused confessed that on June 15, he kidnapped the son of Ramavatar, a resident of Barigwan, after seeing him playing alone near a well and took him to his room and strangled him to death and placed the toddler's body at the feet of the deity.
The self-styled exorcist later put Hrithik's body in a sack and hid it in the bushes. The body was recovered by the police and the villagers on June 16 last. The police, however, zeroed in on the accused on Tuesday night, and he told the police that at 4 o'clock in the morning of June 16, he had thrown the child's body in the dry river Kibar.
It is learnt that one Sheru of the village saw Bhola taking Hrithik with him but was threatened by the exorcist of dire consequences if he disclosed it to anyone. Despite the threat, Sheru mustered courage and provided a tip-off to the police which finally led to the arrest of the accused.
Agra’s Superintendent of Police (West) Satyajit Gupta said that the victim's father had filed a missing complaint on June 16. Gupta said that the accused had killed the boy "for sacrifice" after his exorcism was not working.
Sources also confirmed that Bhola tried to take advantage of a property dispute between two families. He believed that offering a young child to the goddess would solve his problems. He chose the kid from the opposing family itself for the sacrifice. After murdering the child, he offered the child's blood to the goddess, wrapped the body in a sack, and dumped it in the river.
The property dispute involved Ramavatar and his stepfather, Gareeba. Bhola had thought that after Ritik's death Ramavatar would leave the village and he would purchase Gareeba's property at a throwaway price.
In yet another shocking incident in Lakhimpur Kheri, a minor girl's body with strangulation marks was recovered from a sugarcane field in a village on Tuesday night. He parents alleged it was a case of rape and murder. The parents, in the police complaint, made the allegation after they found their daughter's scarf wrapped around her neck.
The incident came to light when the parents panicked after their 13-year-old daughter did not return from the field after several hours. Later, some local herders entered the sugarcane fields to locate one of their goats and spotted the girl's body. They immediately alerted other villagers.
Inspector General of Police Laxmi Singh, after visiting the spot where the body was recovered, said, "Preliminary investigations reveal murder by strangulation."
Based on the complaint, the police have taken some suspects into custody and are interrogating them.
Despite the victim's parents alleging rape and murder, Singh and Lakhimpur Kheri Superintendent of Police Sanjiv Suman asserted that only a post-mortem examination would reveal the truth. "We can say with certainty about the parents' allegations only after the post-mortem report arrives," they said.
Senior police officials, including Suman, ASP Arun Kumar Singh and DSP Lakhimpur Sandip Singh, said the police inspected the spot where the girl's body was found and forensic and fingerprint experts were pressed into action to collect evidence.
"The body of the girl was recovered from a sugarcane field. An in-camera post-mortem of the body by a panel of doctors will be conducted to ascertain the exact cause of death," Suman said.