A suspected case of cannibalism was reported in Kerala after a couple was arrested for torturing and murdering two women in a gruesome manner, all this done to bring economic prosperity.
Unbalanced Juxtaposition: Human Sacrifices and 21st century
‘Two women are beheaded, their bodies then chopped into pieces, and then those chopped pieces are alleged to be cooked and then eaten, doesn’t this sense like a barbaric activity of the antediluvian era where human existence survived on flesh for eating, leaf for clothing and kins and kiths for dominance. But what if curtains are unfastened and then you are told the true story, that this hellish and diabolical activity is of today’s time, practiced in a state with the highest literacy rate of 96.2% and also known as God’s own Country, Kerela? This era of the 21st century is marked and surfaced as an era of technology and scientism but what is still in the holes and cores of Indian society get shadowed behind the sham of science and tech.
Brutish Event and Offenders
The blood-curdling news of Elanthoor in Pathanamthitta, a district of Kerala of the human sacrifice of two middle-aged women by a couple, in which women were killed, then their bodies were cut into pieces, and then probably their body parts were eaten, all this done in the hope of getting economic prosperity has questioned the authorities for the absence of centralized Anti-Superstition Legislation and has also flared out the evidence of activities like occult, mysticism, and witchcraft still being extensively practiced in Indian sub-continent.
The three accused persons namely Mohammed Shafi, an occult practitioner, and the main mastermind behind this heinous act, and Bhagaval Singh, an ayurvedic healer, and his wife Laila Singh have now been arrested. The mutilated bodies of victims were exhumed from Singh’s house at Elanthoor in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan said the crime had “shocked the human conscience” and said that abducting and killing people for superstitious reasons was a crime “beyond imagination in a state like Kerala.”
Not a Groundbreaker Event but a Player in Creating Fresh Cracks on Ground
But this unfortunate deplorable act is not the first of its kind incident that is sighted towards occult and mysticism practices in India. In 2021, India recorded five deaths in connection with human sacrifices, among which two were reported from Kerela itself, and 68 due to witchcraft and sorcery practices. In 2020, 11 murders were linked to human sacrifices and 88 were in connection with witchcraft. NCRB also reported that 2017 saw a massive rise in murders linked with sacrifice.
These wizardly practices directly violate the fundamental rights of citizens guaranteed by Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Indian Constitution and are also in stark contradiction with ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948’, ‘The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966’, and ‘Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979’, India being a part of all of them.
States with Legislation and Loopholes
Since 1999, eight states namely Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Rajasthan, Assam, Maharashtra, and Karnataka have enacted laws to deal with crimes of black magic, witchcraft, sorcery, witch hunting, and other superstitious activities that sequence with other criminal activities but are also estranged by nature from them, being much more heinous and surreal in gravity. Elements of laws of different states have different grounds; for defining what occult practices are, none having a well-structured one, criminalization of practices and punishments.
Since many of these practices found their genesis in religious customs and traditions, the state tries to stay at a distance from these activities for the sake of the spirit of secularism and peace at large, for instance, Maharashtra’s Anti-Black Magic Act, states that law will not apply to the propagation of miracles of deceased religious preachers and saints, considering that propagation does not cause any physical injury or financial loss.
The state in news, Kerala, has attempted to make a similar act to curb superstitious and inhuman evil practices in the past, named The Kerala Prevention of Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices, Sorcery, and Black Magic Bill, but this bill is yet to come in existence as an act, currently, this bill is under the consideration of State Home Department.
Call for Centralized Legislation
The depravity of cases linked with human sacrifices and sorcery forms headlines every year, and our country’s administrative system is still lagging in forming a central law to curb these superstitious and absurd practices. The legislation enacted in the above-mentioned states to curb occult and superstitious practices has not gone under amendments or modifications for many years, but is invoked every year, which indicates the regular crimes against innocent citizens due to these menacing activities.
Though there are many provisions in CRPC that can be used to deal with these malpractices because of the absence of any uniform and regulated legislation, the accused are acquitted after spending some years in jail as a punishment, for these abominable and odious crimes. Centralized and well-regulated legislation is the need of the hour, but it is also pertinent to note that bringing legislation shall only be a half battle won, the efficacy of the legislation could only be embraced when it is in tandem with social acceptance which will result through awareness campaigns and by roping in community and religious preachers to debunk the myths and delusions for such practices.