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Death for baby killer and blood drinker

Bankura, Feb. 3: A Bankura fast-track court today sentenced to death a tantrik for the beheading of a newborn, two years after he was caught drinking blood dripping from the baby’s head.

Lakshmikanta Karmakar, a 55-year-old tantrik who used to allegedly sacrifice animals, was beaten up by residents of Saltora village after they saw him fiddling with the baby’s head and drinking its blood on a cremation ground near a Kali temple on the night of January 29, 2012.

He was handed over to police, who charged him with murder.

Today, Sulagna Dastidar held Karmakar guilty and sentenced him to death by hanging.

Public prosecutor Arun Kumar Banerjee said the incident was “a rare case of killing an innocent child by beheading and then performing rites that included drinking the baby’s blood”.

Villagers said they believed the baby had been abandoned as nobody had come forward to claim it.

The police had started a suo motu case of murder based on accounts of villagers.

It could not be confirmed if the baby was a boy or girl as the body could not be found.

“The tantrik lived near the graveyard. He used to sacrifice animals. But that night, we saw him with the head of a human baby. It had just been beheaded. He was chanting mantras and drinking the blood dripping from the head,” said a villager who had testified in the court.

Defence lawyer Gautam Ghosh said he would move Calcutta High Court. “The ruling has been passed in haste. We will appeal in the high court,” Ghosh said, adding there were several loopholes in the probe.