Indian Human Sacrifice Case Prompts Calls for Laws Against Superstition

A case of human sacrifice in Kerala, India, has garnered concern about the need for a law against black magic and harmful rituals performed in the name of "faith."

The gruesome deaths of two mercilessly assaulted and murdered women have brought attention to many who want an appropriate law against the harmful and evil rituals performed in the name of superstitions.

After the murder of two women killed in a "black magic" related ritual, the Kerala police arrested three individuals on October 11th, 2022, one of which is described as a pervert with psychopathic tendencies, and the other two are a couple.

The man who formulated the plan to murder those two women is Muhammed Shafi alias Rasheed, a repeat offender. Shafi persuaded Bhagawal Singh and his wife Laila by telling them that if they murdered a person, the goddess would be "pleased" and bless them with good fortune.

According to the police reports, the two victims Rosly, 49 years old, and Padmam, 52, were lured and deceived by Shafi. Shafi and the couple ruthlessly killed the two women on different days, where Rosly was killed in June and Padmam in September. Both were killed and buried at the couple's house in Elanthoor in the southern district of Pathanamthitta.

Further investigation shows that Shafi has more than 10 cases on his head, including charges of rape, theft, and attempted murder.

Bhagawal and Laila were searching for a way to achieve financial prosperity and were willing to do anything for it. Shafi contacted the couple using a fake social media ID and presented himself as a woman. Then using the fake ID, he told them that he knew a sorcerer named Rasheed who could help them. After that, Shafi reached the couple's house and convinced them that "human sacrifice" would bring them what they desired. The couple later paid Shafi for performing the ritual.

According to the investigators, the victims were severely attacked by Shafi and the couple before they decapitated them and cut their corpses into pieces which they later buried.

The murders were brought to light following a police investigation after Padmam's family filed a missing complaint after she went missing on September 26th. The relatives of Rosly's also filed a police complaint in August, a few weeks after she went missing in June.

Various political leaders and religious/spiritual leaders heavily condemned the act of killing under the facade of "Faith" and "Prosperity."

In a statement, Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the double murder was a massive blow to the human conscience. He also noted that the current investigation would bring everyone involved in the crime to justice. The offense is a "challenge to civilized society" and is pressed for "social awareness" to address such forms of violence.

Chairperson of the Kerala State Women's Commission, P. Satheedevi, said, "It is so frightening to see that brutal acts, including human sacrifice, are taking place in a society like ours, which boasts of high educational standards."

A widely known Hindu spiritual educator, Swami Sandeepananda Giri, said many people in Kerala follow several forms of superstition, such as buying ornaments on 'Akshay Tritiya.' He said, "Unwanted rituals are planned and observed in the name of religion and faith," and media platforms significantly spread those superstitions in society.

Reports say a new draft law would work against inhumane practices and harmful superstitious beliefs. The Kerala Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices, Sorcery and Black Magic Bill, 2019, is waiting for approval from the Kerala legislative assembly and is more likely to be enacted after the twin murder incident. The Maharashtra state has already implemented a similar law.

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