Bhurkunda/Ramgarh, Dec. 11: One person was killed and at least 10 were injured when police fired on an angry mob demanding that a baba (godman) involved in the alleged sacrifice of a six-year-old boy two days ago be handed over to them.
The boy, Munna, went missing last Tuesday, and his mutilated body was recovered on Tuesday from the bank of the Nakari river at Bhurkunda, 20 km from Ramgarh. His throat, hands and shoulder had been slit and his penis cut off, suggesting he had been sacrificed for siddhi.
The crime was allegedly carried out to help Birju Bhuyian find a way to withdraw the Rs 250,000 provident fund owed to his late father Rajindra by his employers.
Godman Khepa Baba was named as the mastermind behind the purnima (full moon) night sacrifice by Bhuyian and another accused, Mahavir Rajak. The duo made a confessional statement to police after Munna’s father, Vijay Paswan, filed an FIR.
Mahavir, Bhuyian and another accused, Shashi Thakur, provided details of the crime to sub-divisional police officer Madan Mohan Lal. They said five people were involved in Munna’s sacrifice, carried out at the bidding of Baba, who has considerable following in Bhurkunda and adjoining areas.
The statement said Mahavir slashed Munna with a sharp knife in Baba’s presence as Thakur, Bhuyian, Shambhu Rajak and Mahadeo held him down. The boy’s blood was collected in a bowl and siddhi rituals performed. Baba first offered the blood to Goddess Kali and then advised Mahavir to smear the blood on his chest to obtain supernatural powers.
Bhuyian approached Mahavir when he found it difficult to withdraw the money Central Coalfields Limited at Urimary owed to his father, who died last year. Mahavir, a staunch follower of Baba, told Bhuyian - anxious to obtain his father’s provident fund dues - that the godman would help him get the money – only, a human had to be sacrificed for this. Baba is believed to have demanded a large sum of money for this.
Munna went missing on December 2, prompting his father to lodge a police complaint. His body was found on the river bank on Tuesday.
As news of the sacrifice spread, residents of central Saunda and adjoining areas gathered near Bhurkunda police station this morning, demanding that Baba be handed over to them. Sensing trouble, the police shifted the godman to Ramgarh police station around 9 am.
But the mob continued its siege, and when sub-divisional officer Lal arrived, it went on the rampage, pelting stones at policemen and ransacked the police station. It also set Baba’s ashram, located opposite the police station, ablaze.
This prompted the police to open fire. Ram Pravesh Rajbhar, 22, was hit in his stomach by a bullet and died later. Doctors at the Central Coalfields Limited hospital, Nai Sarai, said those critically injured had been referred to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences and Gandhinagar Hospital in Ranchi.
All shops in the town downed their shutters and vehicles kept off the road. The CPI(ML) and some other organisations have called a bandh tomorrow.
Baba has denied involvement in the sacrifice, saying he was at his ashram that night.