A 4-year-old girl in India is the latest instance of ritual human sacrifice in that country.
The girl went missing on Oct. 24 from her home in northeast India, reports The Washington Post.
Her mutilated body was found Oct. 7 near the Ratanpur tea estate where she lived with her parents. Her head and arms had been cut off, and were found scattered near the body.
Allegedly, the girl was sacrificed in an attempt to find the lost cell phone of a 14-year-old girl who lived in the same village as the victim. The families of both girls knew each other.
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The sacrifice was part of a black magic ritual, which was undertaken at the request of the parents of the girl who lost her phone. It is generally understood that ancient human sacrifice was done to appease the gods, and not for trivial matters like finding personal possessions.
The incident took place in a tribal area where superstition is common, as explained by Prasanta Phukan of the Sonari Police Station in Assam.
These tribal communities are poor and uneducated, and their belief systems often involve goddesses and witches. According to Phukan, the ritual was performed by a "black witch priest" from the village, along with two assistants.
They allegedly kidnapped and horribly disfigured her before ultimately killing her. Police have arrested the parents who ordered the ritual, plus the priest’s two assistants. The priest, however, is still at large.
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The girl who lost her phone was not arrested because she is a minor, and reportedly will not be charged.
All those involved in this case, including the victim, are descendants of indigenous Adivasis people in India who have been exploited and discriminated against for years, notes The Washington Post.
There are many examples of black magic, sometimes involving human sacrifice, in rural parts of India. There are also many examples of persecution and killing of people who practice black magic.
It was not revealed whether or not this particular human sacrifice succeeded in finding the missing cell phone.