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Sacrifice whiff in girl murder

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 4: The murder of a seven-year-old girl at Damanjodi in Koraput district, around 660km from here, has raised the spectre of child sacrifice in the area. Five persons have been detained for questioning.

The incident evoked strong reaction among local residents, who resorted to protests and demonstration demanding immediate arrest of the accused persons.

Police said that the body had been for autopsy to establish the nature of the murder. However, they overruled the possibility of human sacrifice as circumstantial evidence did not corroborate the allegation.

Iswari Khara, a Class II student of the local upper primary school, was missing since Saturday evening after she went to buy chocolate from the market. When they failed to find Iswari, her parents lodged a missing report with the police. However, her body was recovered from a narrow lane between two houses around 20 metres from her residence on Tuesday morning.

The body was kept in a sack partly covered with torn clothes and there were several cut and burnt marks on it.

Seeing the body, local residents suspected that Iswari might had been murdered for child sacrifice. A mob soon blocked the main road in the town by setting tyres on fire.

Senior police officers, including the sub-divisional police officer, Sunabedha, and local tehsildar rushed to the spot. While the scientific team and dog squad collected evidences from the spot, the police tried to bring the situation under control.

“We want the accused persons who killed an innocent child in such a heinous way should be arrested immediately and be given exemplary punishment,” said Amir Patra, a local resident.

The girl’s father Nagesh Khara, a daily wage labourer, said that they had searched for their daughter for the last three days, but did not find her.

“We do not know who killed her and for what purpose. We want the culprits to be arrested and punished,” said Nagesh.

Superintendent of police, Koraput, Abinash Kumar said the human sacrifice angle was yet to be ascertained, but investigation was on.

“We had lodged a case of abduction, which later turned out to be one of murder. We are waiting for the postmortem report, which will reveal the nature of murder. Besides we are trying to find out if the family had any rivalry with anyone in the area,” he said.

This is not the first case that has raised the issue of child sacrifice in the state. On November 25, Khurda police had recovered the body of a four-year-old boy from a hilltop near the town and arrested two persons in connection with the murder. Police suspected it to be case of human sacrifice.