Dean Nelson, Telegraph (London), July 30, 2009
Ram Niwas, 25, consulted his uncle a ‘tantrik’ or black magic priest, who told him he and his wife would only give birth to a boy if he killed a young girl in a ritual sacrifice.
The body of Vandana was discovered in a field close to her home in a village in Lakhimpur Kheri district around 100 miles south of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Her body was surrounded by incense sticks which had been used in the tantrik ritual.
Ram Niwas, his uncle, tantrik priest Mewa Lal, 55, and friend Yousef Ansari, 22, were arrested shortly after the discovery.
A man beheaded his neighbour’s five-year-old daughter after being told by his uncle, a self-proclaimed tantrik (witch doctor), that only a human sacrifice would enable his wife to give birth to a healthy male child.
The gruesome ritual took place in a village in Lakhimpur Kheri district, 150km south of Lucknow on Tuesday. Ram Niwas, 25, who beheaded the child, his uncle, Mewa Lal, 55, and an associate, Yousuf Ansari, 22, have been arrested, the police said.
The three men confessed to their crime shortly after the body was discovered on Tuesday evening, said local police station officer Ravi Srivastava. Niwas told detectives he had turned to his Tantrik uncle because he and his wife had suffered fertility problems.
The case highlights India’s chronic levels of female infanticide. An article in The Lancet revealed that 10 million female foetuses had been aborted in the last 20 years by women who wanted a son, while campaigners say many newborn girls are murdered at birth and recorded as stillborn.
Girls are widely regarded as a financial burden by Indian families because of high dowry demands from the families of prospective grooms.