From murder for recovery of elephant to an unsolved case: History of ‘human sacrifices’ in Kerala

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Elanthoor murders are not the first case of alleged human sacrifice in Kerala. In fact, from time to time, similar cases have emerged in the state.

Since the 1950s, eight instances of suspected 'human sacrifices' were registered in the state, with the earliest report coming from Kattakada in Thiruvananthapuram on April 23, 1955. Here, a 15-year-old was strangled to death using a rope. The accused were caught by police while moving the body to be buried. The sessions court ordered the externation of the accused.

A year later, Guruvayur witnessed human sacrifice for the recovery of an elephant named Radha. The crime was committed by an 'elephant lover' named Krishnan Chetty. He killed his friend, Kashi, who was asleep near the temple premises. The accused defended his actions in court by saying "Elephant is the bigger species here, and Kashi is just a human. There is no point in a human living when an elephant is dying." He received life sentence for the crime.

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However, Azhakeshan, a Kollam native, received death sentence for slaughtering a 6-year-old on May 29, 1973, to appease the deity. The child, Devadasan, was abducted by the accused and butchered in front of an idol of a deity.

Ten years later, in 1983, court punished Lakshmi, her son Ramachandran, for attempting to murder Kelapan, a teacher in Wayanad, in the name of human sacrifice.

On December 31, 1996, Ajitha, a 6-year-old, was murdered by a couple to appease the deity for fertility. Vikraman, his wife Thulasi, abducted the girl by promising gifts and took her to their house. With the help of a sorcerer, the couple created a wound on the body and drained blood from the body. A cloth was used to cover the mouth to stop the child from screaming. As the girl died, the body was dumped in a pond. The incident came to light after the parents became suspicious about the wound found on the body.

However, the brutal killing of a child in Pattambi in 2004 remains unsolved to date. The body of a four-year-old child was found in a pond near the banks of Bharathapuzha. The child was missing from the custody of their parents while sleeping at a railway station. The body was found with arms and legs severed from the body. Further, the police uncovered evidence of ritual practices conducted in the area.

In February 2021, a woman slit the throat of her son Amal, a six-year-old, in Puthupally, to appease the deities. The child was found with his legs tied using a rope and his throat slit open, in the bathroom.

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