I’ll never forget the night I first watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – particularly the horror and disgust as I watched Mola Ram, standing in front of a grotesque statue of the Hindu goddess Kali, plunge his hand into the poor sacrifice victim’s chest and pull his still-beating heart out, before lowering the man into a pit of lava – upon which the heart, still in Mola Ram’s hand, burst into flames.
It’s the one scene in the movie I look away from (well, that and the dinner scene).
I was both surprised and disturbed to discover that the Thuggee from the movie were in fact a real Indian crime cult exterminated by the British in the late 1800s, and that they apparently really did commit human sacrifice (although the movie considerably exaggerates them, thank God).
While the Thuggee (from which we get the word thug) have long since been exterminated, the fact remains that human sacrifice continues in parts of India, often to Kali – worshiped by the historical Thuggee – despite the insistence of zealous Hindus (and SJWs) who think it’s evil to portray a historical Hindu cult on screen.
Indian cult kills children for goddess‘Holy men’ blamed for inciting dozens of deaths
There are bloodstains on the cracked wall behind the terrible postcard-size image and, around the dark room, splattered gore on the heavy wooden furniture. These dark marks bear witness to a child sacrificed in the name of the abominable goddess.
Through the doorway, in the distance, colourfully dressed women are bent double, toiling in the fields, their faces worn and wrinkled from the sun, their hands cracked from digging at the dry earth from dawn until dusk.
It’s an intolerable life in the remote village of Barha, a squalid collection of mud-bricked farmers’ dwellings in the heart of the impoverished province of Khurja, Uttar Pradesh. This corner of rural India is a lawless place of superstitions and deep prejudice. The region, known for its sugarcane, is a tortuous eight-hour drive from Delhi and a lifetime away from the 21st century.
In Bulandshahr, the nearest town of any description, locals whispered darkly of happenings in Barha. Their advice was unanimous: ‘Don’t go. It is an evil place. The people there are cursed.’
Sumitra Bushan, 43, who lived in Barha for most of her life, certainly thought she was cursed. Her husband had long abandoned her, leaving her with debts and a life of servitude in the sugarcane fields. Her sons, Satbir, 27, and Sanjay, 23, were regarded as layabouts. Life was bad but then the nightmares and terrifying visions of Kali allegedly began, not just for Sumitra but her entire family.
She consulted a tantrik, a travelling ‘holy man’ who came to the village occasionally, dispensing advice and putrid medicines from the rusty amulets around his neck.
His guidance to Sumitra was to slaughter a chicken at the entrance to her home and offer the blood and remains to the goddess. She did so but the nightmares continued and she began waking up screaming in the heat of the night and returned to the priest. ‘For the sake of your family,’ he told her, ‘you must sacrifice another, a boy from your village.’
Ten days ago Sumitra and her two sons crept to their neighbour’s home and abducted three-year-old Aakash Singh as he slept. They dragged him into their home and the eldest son performed a puja ceremony, reciting a mantra and waving incense. Sumitra smeared sandalwood paste and globules of ghee over the terrified child’s body. The two men then used a knife to slice off the child’s nose, ears and hands before laying him, bleeding, in front of Kali’s image.
In the morning Sumitra told villagers she had found Aakash’s body outside her house. But they attacked and beat her sons who allegedly confessed. ‘I killed the boy so my mother could be safe,’ Sanjay screamed. All three are now in prison, having escaped lynch mob justice. The tantrik has yet to be found.
Police in Khurja say dozens of sacrifices have been made over the past six months. Last month, in a village near Barha, a woman hacked her neighbour’s three-year-old to death after a tantrik promised unlimited riches. In another case, a couple desperate for a son had a six-year-old kidnapped and then, as the tantrik chanted mantras, mutilated the child. The woman completed the ritual by washing in the child’s blood.
‘It’s because of blind superstitions and rampant illiteracy that this woman sacrificed this boy,’ said Khurja police officer AK Singh. ‘It’s happened before and will happen again but there is little we can do to stop it. In most situations it’s an open and shut case. It isn’t difficult to elicit confessions – normally the villagers or the families of the victims do that for us. This has been going on for centuries; these people are living in the dark ages.’
According to an unofficial tally by the local newspaper, there have been 28 human sacrifices in western Uttar Pradesh in the last four months. Four tantrik priests have been jailed and scores of others forced to flee.
The killings have focused attention on Tantrism, an amalgam of mystical practices that grew out of Hinduism. Tantrism also has adherents among Buddhists and Muslims and, increasingly, in the West, where it is associated with yoga or sexual techniques. It has millions of followers across India, where it originated between the fifth and ninth centuries. Tantrik priests are consulted on everything from marital to bowel problems.
Many blame the turn to the occult on the increasing economic gap between rural and urban India, in particular the spiralling debts of cotton and tobacco farmers, linked with high costs of hybrid seed and pesticides, that has led to record numbers of farmers committing suicide.
According to Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, human sacrifice affects most of northern India. ‘Modern India is home to hundreds of millions who can’t read or write, but who often seek refuge from life’s realities through astrology or the magical arts of shamans. Unfortunately these people focus their horrific attention on society’s weaker members, mainly women and children who are easier to handle and kidnap.’
Tantriks caught up in the crackdown in Uttar Pradesh say their reputation is being destroyed by an insane minority. ‘Human sacrifices have been made in this region since time immemorial,’ says Prashant, a tantrik who runs a small ‘practice’ from his concrete shell of a home on the outskirts of Bulandshahr. ‘People come to me with all sorts of ailments. I recommend simply pujas and very rarely animal sacrifices.’
In her squalid home Ritu Singh rocks back and forth, beating her chest in grief. She has been mourning since the day her son Aakash’s body was discovered in a sewer outside Sumitra Bushan’s home. Her husband, Rajbir, said: ‘We expect them to be jailed or fined but they won’t spend longer than a few years in prison for what they have done. They were my neighbours, they ate in our house. The Tantrik who made them do this has disappeared, they will never find him.’
It’s certainly not limited to India, or to Kali worshipers; there are many cases of human sacrifice still occurring around the world.
Where Human sacrifices are still taking place throughout the world
Drug gangs, witch doctors and weird cults – the terrifying modern face of human sacrifice
The deadliest heatwave to hit India for more than 100 years has killed more than 2,500 people as temperatures soared to 50C and even the roads melted. But even among so many deaths, the murder of Thepa Kharia stands out.
A few weeks ago neighbours of the 55-year-old labourer found his body in a pool of blood at his home in an isolated village
280 miles west of Calcutta.
And it was only his body – his head had been hacked off by an occult group called the Orkas, who buried it in a parched farmer’s field in a bloody ritual meant to summon the rain and save their shrivelling crops.
Days later the annual monsoon finally reached the southern tip of India. Then the rain worked its way slowly across the country, chasing away the searing heat.
But the downpour will not wash away the stain left by Thepa’s murder. His death has exposed a sick superstition that simmers beneath the surface in remote parts of India and has now boiled over in the searing heat.
Human sacrifice, for years assumed to live on only in fictional works like horror film The Wicker Man, is in fact alive and well in the 21st century. One case was even recorded right here in Britain as recently as 2001.
When the torso of a five-year-old boy was found floating in the River Thames near Shakespeare’s Globe, police found that his head, arms and legs had been cut cleanly off and what remained of his body had been entirely drained of blood.
The main clue to his fate came when a lab report showed his intestine contained traces of the African calabar bean, a powerful poison used by adherents of voodoo. This creates paralysis without any anaesthetic effect, meaning the victim would have felt every cut of the knife in a sickening ritual.
He was named as Adam by officers in the case, who also released a photo of a Nigerian boy they believed might be him. But his identity was never confirmed and his killers were never caught.
Human sacrifice is far more common in countries like India where a minority of tantric shamans still promote it to gullible communities of uneducated peasants.
Best known in the West as techniques to prolong and intensify sexual pleasure, in remote areas tantric rituals loosely derived from the Hindu faith can also include animal, and, in extreme cases, human sacrifice to please the gods and guarantee good luck.
It is so widespread that in 2006 there were 28 cases of human sacrifice in just four months in the northern province of
In one particularly gruesome example one couple were so desperate for a son they consulted a local shaman.
On his advice Madan and Murti Simaru kidnapped six-year-old Mona Kumar from a neighbouring family, took him to a river bank and mutilated his body as the priest chanted over them. Then they killed the boy and washed themselves in his blood to complete the fertility ritual.
In May this year a “tantric sorcerer” was lynched after he beheaded five-year-old Sanatan Bag in front of his parents on a tea plantation in the north-eastern state of Assam. And in the south-eastern province of Andhra Pradesh a boy of 14 was abducted by a sect searching for hidden treasure in 2012.
They took him to an abandoned fort and slaughtered him under a new moon, believing that this would please ancients spirits who would then show them how to find the treasure.
Later the same year a man sacrificed his own wife in the hope of a bountiful harvest.
And in 2011 a seven-year-old girl Lalita Tati was murdered and her liver cut out as an offering to the Hindu goddess Durga by two farmers hoping for a better crop.
Indian police officer AK Singh, who has investigated many human sacrifices, reveals: “It’s often an open-and-shut case. It
isn’t difficult to get confessions.
“Normally the villagers or the families of the victims do that for us. But there is little we can doto stop it. These people are living in the dark ages.”
Human sacrifice also continues across the border in Bangladesh. In 2010 a brickmaker was arrested for killing one of his labourers and pouring the blood on his field to improve the quality of his mud bricks.
On the opposite side of the planet in Mexico, human sacrifice is usually associated with the ancient Aztec civilization, where priests would cut out the still-beating heart of a victim at the top of a pyramid.
But three years ago a sickening triple murder raised fears that a similar ritual is making a comeback. Eight members of one family were charged with kidnapping and murdering two boys aged 10 and a woman of 55 in the copper mining town of Nacozari a few miles from the US border. The victims had been sacrificed to Santa Muerte (Saint Death), a rapidly growing cult in Mexico which is popular with drug smugglers and cartel hitmen. The victims’ throats and wrists had been slashed so the blood could be collected and spread on a sacrificial altar.
Two of the bodies were buried near the family’s home, but one of the boys was buried in the dirt floor of their shack.
Andrew Chesnut, chairman of Catholic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, says there have been other recent reports of human sacrifice in Mexico. He said: “With no clerical authority to stop them, some practitioners engage in abhorrent rituals.”
But the real hotbed of human sacrifice is Africa, where poor or disabled women and children can be hunted down and sold to witch doctors who sacrifice them then “harvest” the body parts. In Tanzania, hunters target albinos born with snow-white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes.
Widely regarded as devils, they are regularly blamed for natural tragedies such as deaths and droughts.
However, their organs are used to make charms or potions that are used in medicine meant to lift curses or to bring great riches.
In many cases the victims are carved up while they are still alive to make the potions “more potent”.
Angel Salvatory, 19, had to run for her life when a gang led by her own father attacked her. She had spent her teenage years at the Kabanga Protection Centre, a government safe house for albinos. Her mother Bestida Simon said: “Her father thought she was a gift from God he could use to get riches. He had wanted to attack her since she was three months old.”
Across the continent in Uganda it’s not just albino children at risk. The charity KidsRights believes hundreds of children have been murdered in recent years by a network of witch doctors who have turned human sacrifice into a lucrative business.
Children are chosen because their purity and innocence is supposed to make the sacrifice all the more potent. The government has formed a task-force to tackle the epidemic, but campaigners say the new body has underestimated the scale of the problem and is not bringing enough killers to justice.
KidsRights spokeswoman Lydia van der Putten said: “In many of these cases, body parts were removed by witch doctors when the children were still alive.
“Such sacrificial rituals, and the subsequent wearing, burying or eating of a child’s body parts, are thought to bring business success, personal prosperity and health.”
Polino Angela, an ex-witch-doctor who now campaigns against human sacrifice, claims to have killed 70 people. He says he was initiated at a ceremony in Kenya, where a boy of 13 was sacrificed. He said: “The child was cut with a knife and from the neck down was ripped open, then put on me.”
He even claims to have sacrificed his own 10-year-old son on his bosses’ orders.
He said: “I deceived my wife and made sure that everyone else had gone away and I was with my child alone. Once he was placed down on the ground I used a big knife and brought it down like a guillotine.”
With more reports from Nigeria, Liberia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, there are fears human sacrifice is spreading.
It seems these dark and terrifying rituals are anything but a dying art.
When I reviewed the most chilling stories of modern-day, human sacrifices hurt. Literatures show that chanting and sacrifices of human being is all over the world. Some of them are: A Nepalese man has confessed to the murder of a boy after saying a local holy man advised him that a human sacrifice would heal his ailing son. He also burnt some incense and recited mantras, after killing the boy. After all, he just believed the Shaman, what is usually the highest authority in villages to announce the source of the illnesses and bad fortune that befalls them. The Indian couple kidnapped and sacrificed a child to have their own child. The guru said that they should kidnap a boy and sacrifice him on the banks of the river. In October 2011, a 7-year-old Indian girl was dismembered by two farmers, who killed the girl and removed her liver as an offering in a ritual sacrifice to make sure a better harvest. In March 2010, the owners of a brickyard in Bangladesh became concerned that bricks were losing their sought-after reddish hue, so they decided to consult a fortune-teller. The seer suggested that the brickfield needed a “human sacrifice.” Therefore, the owners ordered four of their workers to kill one of their fellow labourers. The victim, a 26-year-old man, was killed and his head was baked in an oven.
The perpetrators and their collaborators capitalize on the prevalent irrational fear of the supernatural, and the poor and corrupt policing and justice system, to get away with these egregious violations. Victims of ritual sacrifice are mostly minors or vulnerable people who do not live to seek justice or redress or who lack the resources to seek redress if ever they survive the ordeal. The families of victims fear spiritual or supernatural backlash and do not hold their states accountable. And local authorities lack the political will to uphold the rule of law and protect human rights.
More articles on this barbaric practice:
Arguably one of the most disgusting practices currently in the world.