In many parts of northern India, tantrics play on people's fears and superstitions to perpetrate such atrocities as child sacrifice.

Horror of India's child sacrifice
Deccan Herald- 17. 4.2006    By NAVDIP DHARIWAL

In India's remote northern villages it feels as if little has changed. The communities remain forgotten and woefully undeveloped, with low literacy and abject poverty.
They are conditions that for decades have bred superstition and a deep-rooted belief in the occult.
The village of Barha in the state of Uttar Pradesh is only a three - hour car drive from the capital Delhi. Yet here evil medieval practices have made their ugly presence known. I was led by locals to a house that is kept under lock and key. They refuse to enter it.
'Peering through the window bars you can see the eerie dark room inside, with peeling posters of Hindu gods adorning the walls and bundles of discarded bed clothes. In one comer is the evidence we had come to find: blood - splattered walls and stained bricks.
It is the place where a little boy's life was ritually sacrificed. Those who tortured and killed Akash Singh did so in a depraved belief - that the boy's death would offer them a better life.

"The woman who did this was crazed," the villagers say. "Akash was friends with all our children... We still cannot believe what happened here."
Akash's distraught mother discovered her son's mutilated body.
The family was told he was lured away with sweets and begged his captors to set him free.
"First they cut out his tongue," his grandmother Harpyari told me. "then they cut off his nose, then his ears. They chopped off his fingers. They killed him slowly. "The woman who abducted Akash lived just a few doors away. She claimed to be suffering from terrible nightmares and visions.
It was then she turned for guidance to a tantric, or holy man. It was under his instruction that she brutally sacrificed the boy - offering his blood and remains to the Hindu goddess of destruction.
There are temples across India that are devoted to the goddess. Childless couples, the impoverished and sick visit to pray that she can cure them.
Animal sacrifice is central to worship - but humans have not been temple victims since ancient times.
We were met with a hostile reception at the temple in Meerut.
The high priest did not want us to see the ritual slaughter. Tantrics like him clearly have an overwhelming grip on their followers.
Often they are profiting from people's fears. In extreme cases others have in­structed their followers to kill.
S Raju a journalist with a leading newspaper, has been reporting on child sacrifice cases since 1997 in western Uttar Pradesh. He has reported on 38 similar cases.
In one incident he says a tantric told a young man that if he hanged and killed a small boy and lit a fire at his feet the smoke from the ritual could be used to lure the pretty village girl he had his eye on.
He has been campaigning for a crackdown on the practice of tantrics, alarmed at what he has seen.
"The masses need to be educated and dissuaded from following these men," he said. "They play on people's fears and superstitions - it is crazy." We visited the jail where those accused of murdering Akash were being held.
The prison warden told us of over 200 cases of child sacrifice in these parts over the last seven years. '
He admitted many of the cases go unreported because the police are reluctant to tarnish the image of their state. He told us incidents of child sacrifice are often covered up.
Many of those killers are behind bars - but, chillingly, others poisoned by the same sinister beliefs remain at large.                                                

7-yr-old boy sacrificed in Orissa

Deccan Herald - 11. 7. 2006
PHULBAN1 (ORISSA),PTI: In a gruesome incident, a seven-year-old boy was sacri­ficed by his own father before the village deity in Kandhamal district on last Saturday, police said on Monday.
Kanhu Charan Pradhan, a tribal of Kadumaha village, who is believed to be a practitioner of sorcery, had killed his son Surath to propitiate the deity, superinten­dent of Police Basanta Kumar Sahu said.
Pradhan, who had been arrested and was being Interrogated, said he first sacri­ficed a goat using a sword last Saturday in the presence of Surath, his third -son.
After decapitating the goat, he turned his attention on the boy, killing him on the spot and the blood was offered before the deity.     . »,   ,
The man appeared to be mentally unstable. The child body was dumped at a nearby waterbody.   

Tantrik held for eating corpse
Deccan Herald - 11. 4. 2006
A tantrik and his disciple were arrested In ]aunpur in UP on Monday for digging up the body of an 18 - month • old boy arid eating it to attain "supernatural powers, " reports PT1.
The two had admitted to exhuming the body and consuming it after cutting off the head in order to attain supernatural powers. The head of the child, who had died a week earlier due to some illness, was found lying near the grave.              

Blind faith Witch doctor drives family out of village
Deccan Herald - 6. 9. 2006
KOLKATA, DHNS: A witch doctor proposed and the villagers did not oppose. Con­sequently, an entire family of 15 in a village not too far from here was hounded out of their home on suspicion that they were practising witchcraft and causing the deaths of humans and livestock.
The police, who had Initially offered them shelter at a local government office, on Tuesday asked the 65-year-old Haridasi Sardar and her family of 'witches' living in Nadia district to move elsewhere.
According to reports Sardar, her four sons their wives and six children, all resi­dents of Balalghata village, were charged with practising black magic and casting a spell on the village, resulting in the deaths of several people and livestock.
The witch doctor, hired by the villagers to probe the deaths, ordered their imme­diate expulsion from the village.
"We are engaged at present in talks with the village administration for some alter­native (to evicting the family)," said Nadia Additional Superintendent of Police Subrata MItra. The police have already tried twice to get them to be back Into their village, but have failed.

11 -year-old sacrificed
Times of India- 1.11.2006
An 11 -year-old boy was beheaded on the advice of an exorcist to propitiate the gods to cure an ailing infant in Masaurhi sub-division of Bihar's Patna district. Golu, son of Upendra Kumar, was sacrificed allegedly by a villager Sitaram Mahto, on the sugges­tion of a woman exorcist Kari Devi to propitiate the gods. The beheaded body was found in Mahto's field.

Child sacrificed for cure
Deccan Herald - 1.11.2006 PATNA, PTI: An eleven year old boy was beheaded on the advise of an exorcist to propitiate the gods to cure an ailing infant, here, in Masaurhi sub-division, police sources said on Tuesday.
Golu, son of Upendra Kumar, was sacrificed allegedly by a villager Sitaram Mahto, on the suggestion of a woman exorcist Kari Devi on October 23 to please the gods for the cure of his ailing-two-month-old grandson, police said.
The beheaded body of the boy was recovered from the field of Sitaram Mahto the next day following which the boy's family grew suspicious about his role in the killing.
The sources said Jitendra, a grandson of Sitaram, lured Golu into a trap by per­suading him to accompany him to watch the immersion of idols of Ganesha and Laxmi but instead of doing so, he took him to his grandfather's farmland.
Reportedly, here the child was sacrificed with the help of other family members.

Witch-hunt:2 killed
Deccan Herald - 8.12.2006 DH News Service
RANCH I: The Sonua police have implicated three persons in connection with a witch-craft - related killing in which a 65-Old woman and her daughter were killed at Kasarun village in Jharkhand's West Singhbhum district on Tuesday night. Officer-ln-Charge of Sonua police station said that the accused are at large now' However, raid is being carried out to nab those responsible for the incident" he said.
According to police, the assailants identified as Nandu Hembrom, Singrai Surin and Bandhu Melgandi, all the residents of Kasarun village, barged into the house of a co-villager and accusing Somabari Purty and her daughter Raimuni Purty (35) of practicing voodoo, dragged them to a nearby field and killed them with sharp edged weapons on Tuesday night.
Police said the assailants tried to kill Raimuni's son Sukhdev also but he escaped somehow and informed the village headman about the incident.