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India: Man Set on Fire After Beheading Four-Year-Old to Appease Goddess

A villager in India reportedly beheaded a four-year-old boy to appease the Goddess Kali. He hoped she would bestow “divine powers” on him.

Residents of the Andhra Pradesh village in rural India captured Tirumala Rao, 35, and set him on fire. He survived, but 40% of his body is covered in burns. The police discovered the sickle he used to slaughter Manu Sagar. They also believe he strangled the young boy before he decapitated him. The Times of India reports:

Rao abducted Sagar when he was returning home from an anganwadi centre around noon. A worried Sagar’s mother, Adilakshmi, learnt from a villager that Rao had taken her son with him. She went to Rao’s home, but found it locked. By that time her husband and Manu’s father had rushed in too.

The couple chanced upon Rao’s brother, Venkata Rao, at the village centre. Along with him, they went to Rao’s residence again, where they found the little boy’s headless body in a pool of blood. As the news spread, villagers gathered and launched a hunt for Rao, who was caught on the outskirts of the village.

Elders rescued Rao before he died, but alerted the police about the incident. Medical teams rushed him to a hospital in Kandukur.

“We will interrogate Rao once he recovers,” explained DSP Srinivasa Rao. “We found a rope from the residence which the accused might have used to strangle the boy.”

In 2006, The Guardian featured a report about numerous children murdered in India for the Goddess Kali. Reporter Dan McDougall visited the Barha village where an Indian cult took part in these murders. He said this part of India “is a lawless place of superstitions and deep prejudice.” Locals in Bulandshahr, the closest large city, told him not to travel to Barha since “it is an evil place” and residents “are cursed.”

Human sacrifice still exists in remote regions across Asia. In July, five men admitted their roles in the death of a ten-year-old boy in Nepal. One of the men told authorities that “a local holy man advised him that a human sacrifice would heal his ailing son.”

In December 2014, a man discovered his ten-year-old son dead in the sugarcanes in the same rural part of India as young Rao. A worker confessed to the crime “in a bid to help his wife become pregnant.”

Goddess Kali is the Hindu goddess associated with “creation, preservation, and destruction.” In 2008, Hindus criticized supermodel Heidi Klum’s Kali Halloween costume. They demanded an apology from Klum “for posing as a sacred figure.”

“Goddess Kali is highly revered in Hinduism and she is meant to be worshipped in temples and not to be used in clubs for publicity stunts or thrown around loosely for dramatic effect,” stated Rajan Zed, an Indian-American community leader. “Hindus welcome Hollywood and other entertainment industries to immerse themselves in Hinduism, but they should take it seriously and respectfully and not just use the religion for decorating or to advance their selfish agenda.”

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