Hazaribagh, Aug. 27: The body of a 10-year-old Birhor schoolboy, his stomach completely slashed open, was discovered today in a forest in Katkamsandi area, 3km from his home and 15km from district headquarters, raising speculations of child sacrifice.
Police discovered the body of Santosh Birhor this afternoon, more than 48 hours after he was last seen in Salga village, Katkamsandi.
Apart from the ripped abdomen, there were no injury marks on the body. A rope was found tied around his neck.
After the boy went missing, his father Darbar Birhor had informed Katkamsandi police.
Police have started a manhunt for one Chandan Mahahar, a Salga resident, with whom Santosh was last seen, and who had promised the boy a job as a domestic help in Delhi.
The body was initially brought to Hazaribagh Sadar Hospital for post-mortem, but seeing its condition, a three-member panel of doctors has recommended sending it to RIMS in Ranchi. Local social worker Mohammad Khalid said the body might be send to Ranchi tomorrow.
The horrific nature of the fatal wound has raised apprehensions of child sacrifice among Santosh’s relatives. They said an attack by a wild animal would leave scratches and wounds on other parts of the body, which was not visible in this case.
Malahar’s hand in the killing is also being suspected.
“We don’t have a clue as to why a 10-year-old schoolboy was murdered in such a merciless way. The case may be clearer once we nab Malahar. It is too early to say that this is a case of child sacrifice. Our probe is on,” Katkamsandi police station OC Madan Sharma said.
Birhors, classified under Primitive Tribe Groups, are a dwindling community in the state, with numbers hovering around 5,000. Traditional wanderers, they collect food, hunt and practise shifting cultivation. Despite recent attempts to include them in the mainstream, they lag behind in almost all development indicators. Other primitive tribes in the state include Asur, Birajia, Korwa, Sabar and Pahariya.