A 24-year-old man, suspected to be suffering from hydrophobia, allegedly killed an elderly woman and ate her flesh in Rajasthan's Pali district following which police arrested the person and admitted him to a hospital, officials said on Saturday.
Doctors at Bangar Hospital said Surendra Thakur, a resident of Mumbai, "is suffering from hydrophobia" -- a fear of water caused by late-stage rabies infection -- possibly because he was bitten by a "rabid dog" in the past and did not get the right treatment.
According to the police, which quoted eyewitnesses, the incident happened in Saradhana village under Sendra police station on Friday when Shanti Devi (65) had gone to graze her cattle. The accused attacked the woman with a stone and killed her, they said.
"The accused is behaving like a mentally sick patient and in an aggressive manner. We have admitted him to the hospital where his medical examination is going on. Even in the hospital, he created a ruckus, after which he was tied up by the nursing staff on a bed," Jaitaran Deputy Superintendent of Police Sukhram Bishnoi said.
He said the accused had come to Sendra from Mumbai on a bus, which was confirmed through a bus ticket he was carrying.
Shanti Devi's son Biren Kathat lodged a police complaint accusing him of killing his mother and eating her flesh. Police said Thakur has been booked under Indian Penal Code section 302 (murder) and also charged with cannibalism.
"I was returning after grazing goats when I saw the man who was eating the flesh of the deceased woman. I got scared and ran from the spot," witness Kathat said, adding he also saw the blood-stained face of the accused.
Initially, locals were frightened after seeing the accused but when he tried to escape they chased him and caught him and handed him over to the police.
"A patient has been admitted at Bangar Hospital who is suffering from hydrophobia. It is possible that a rabid dog might have bitten him in the past. He might not have got vaccinated and because of this, he developed hydrophobia or rabies," Dr Praveen said. Meanwhile, the police handed over the body of the woman to the family members after autopsy.
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