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Ritual killing stuns Indian village

By CNN Correspondent Suhasini Haidar


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FACT BOX

- Police say it is the second case of child sacrifice in a month.
- Rights groups say child sacrifices are not common but do happen.
- Tantra, or Indian black magic, is like African voodoo.
- Tantriks (black magicians) normally offer chickens and goats to gods.

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Crime isn't common in the small Indian village of Nan, a community of 5,000 in the central state of Uttar Pradesh, let alone the murder of a child.

When the villagers heard about the killing of an eleven-year-old boy, they were stunned by its gruesome nature and the bizarre twist.

Police suspect the victim, Ravinder, was killed by his own uncle who they say practiced Indian black magic, or what is called tantra -- the chilling practice of child sacrifice.

"He was studying to be a black magician. We believe that's why he would have murdered the boy," investigating officer Dharm Vir Sharma told CNN.

Child rights activists say black magic sacrifices are uncommon but not unprecedented in parts of rural India.

In this case, police say the suspected black magician was known to have sacrificed small animals at a temple near the village.

But the story doesn't end there.

Villagers told CNN that Ravinder's uncle took them to the very spot in the fields where the boy's body was found and then confessed to the ritual killing before trying to run.

They described how they caught him, the mob fury that split over and how the man was beaten to death.

"What made us angry is that not only was the innocent boy disabled, but that he was killed by someone he knew and trusted," a villager said.

At the boy's funeral, people said they felt the suspected tantrik, or black magician, was a disgrace and were satisfied with what many called the "instant justice" he received.

But Ravinder's father said no justice could make up for the loss of his boy.

He said he just wonders what god could be pleased with the offering of his sweet-natured and helpless son, if this was a ritual sacrifice.


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