Donaipur (Birbhum), April 15: The beheaded body of a middle-aged man was found this morning near the wooden block of a Kali temple where goats are sacrificed, raising suspicion of a human sacrifice.
The head of the man, who is yet to be identified, was found in a bush five feet from the temple on the outskirts of Donaipur village in Birbhum. The face had been mutilated with sharp weapons and there were injury marks on the naked body. Villagers found blood splattered on the ground around the wooden block.
Marigold flowers, half-burnt incense sticks, a bottle of alta and an earthen saucer kept on a stone slab smeared with blood were found in front of a picture of Kali in the temple, giving the impression that a puja had been performed.
People from Donaipur — about 6km from Bolpur town — and neighbouring villages offer puja at the Kali temple on the occasion of amavasya or new moon. Yesterday, a group of villagers from neighbouring Illambazar had held a puja at the temple and had sacrificed two goats.
We are investigating if the blood found at the base of the wooden block and inside the temple was of the man or the sacrificed goats, a police officer said.
Some villagers said it was a case of human sacrifice, a claim disputed by the police.
Investigations so far point towards a murder. We think it was made to look like a human sacrifice to mislead us, said Rabindranath Mukherjee, the district superintendent of police.
A tribal youth and his wife have been detained for interrogation.
In human sacrifice, the body has to be without any blemish, an investigating officer said. But there were several injury marks on the head and body of the man.
Those who killed the man also placed flowers, incense sticks and alta at the temple in order to give the appearance of a puja and sacrifice, the officer said.
The body was found by Chandranath Mukherjee, a village priest. I had gone to the temple around 5.30am today. I was shocked to find the beheaded body near the temple, Mukherjee said.
Shaktipada Das, 80, who had come to the temple this morning to offer puja, fell ill after he saw the body.
As the news spread, nearly 500 villagers rushed to the spot and informed the police, who arrived around 7.30am. A sniffer dog was brought and a torn brown checked shirt and a pair of blue trousers were recovered from the banks of a dried-up canal nearby.
The sniffer dog led the police to the house of Lalmohan Hansda, 26, and his wife Rani. The police detained them and searched their house but found nothing suspicious.