The shocking incident of ritualistic human sacrifice of two women in Kerala was allegedly an outcome of frustration caused by globalisation and efforts of some reactionary forces to bring back hollow and obsolete value systems, state Minister Dr R Bindu believes.
The Social Justice Minister claimed while such incidents were occurring across India, it came to light quickly in the southern state as the public are more alert and vigilant.
“You should not see it as something prevalent only in Kerala. As the society here is more alert and vigilant, such instances are coming to light quickly here. In other states of the country where superstitious practices are rampant, no one even comes to know of such incidents happening there.
“India is a country with deep rooted superstitions and customs, and the power of the same is increasing as some people are trying to bring back ancient customs and practices. Therefore, it is not confined to Kerala and across India we are now seeing an increase in the tendency to resort to violence and brutality. Some of it you are seeing in Kerala,” she told PTI.
One of the reasons for this is “the frustration created by globalisation,” according to her.
“Globalisation is creating pitfalls for people as they desperately try to make a quick buck. In such a scenario, some people are easily misled by fake illusions that human sacrifices can bring them prosperity. So illusory promises are being given to people to carry out such horrendous crimes and scams,” the minister said.
The accused couple – Bhagaval Singh (68), a massage therapist and his wife Laila (59) – are an example of the same as they carried out the crime for their financial well being, she said.
“They wanted a bit more financial stability in their life and therefore, they joined the prime accused — Mohammed Shafi (52) — who is a born criminal,” the Social Justice Minister said.
Another reason for such incidents were the efforts of some “reactionary” forces to bring back “hollow” or “obsolete” value systems, she claimed.
Asked who was behind such value systems, the minister said, “Who amongst us is trying to revive reactionary forces? Who is it? Very conservative, very reactionary, very obsolete things are being revived or brought back by whom?”
Queried as to whether she was referring to the Sangh Parivar or RSS, Bindu said, “Yes. The waves or ripples of what they are doing are being felt and seen everywhere, including Kerala, and we are watching it with fear and apprehension.”
Kerala is a progressive state with renaissance and public movements and high literacy rate, despite which such incidents are happening here and it is being viewed with serious concern, the minister said.
As a result we are continuously fighting against it, unlike in other states, she added.
As to how the government was fighting this problem and would continue to do so, the minister said public awareness programmes are already being conducted in various districts with cooperation of various social welfare organisations.
Besides, the government was considering bringing out a law to curb such superstitious practices and the same was recently announced by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, she said.
Ms Bindu further said a drive similar to the ‘no to drugs’ campaign may also be launched across the state to create awareness among the public against superstitious practices.
“There is an increase in aggression among people compared to the past. There is a ruthlessness among people. This is happening across the world. A major cause of that is globalisation. It is also leading to an emotional disconnect from each other and that is why such brutal killings are taking place,” she said.
The minister said black magic and superstitious practices were there in the past as well, however, they were never so brutal as in the instant case.
According to the police remand report, the victims were not only killed, their bodies were mutilated and chopped into pieces. This, along with decomposition of the bodies by the time they were exhumed, made accurate identification of the victims difficult and is one of the reasons why the remains have not been handed over to the families.
“We are awaiting the DNA analysis report as conclusive proof of the identity of the victims. Then the remains will be handed over to the families,” a top police officer said.
Asked about the veracity of some news reports claiming that the accused indulged in cannibalism, the officer said that while the trio confessed to the same during interrogation, there was no scientific evidence yet regarding that.
The officer said evidence collection was going on at a brisk pace and police were trying to recover the personal belongings, like ornaments and phones, of the victims which the accused had allegedly disposed of in a river. The recovery was proving difficult as the water body was full of silt, he added.
Belgian Malinois breed dogs were used to search the house in Elanthoor area of Pathanamthitta district, where the accused couple lived as well as the surrounding area, from where the victims’ remains were discovered, to find whether there were any more bodies, he said.
While that exercise elicited no results, police were actively examining if there were other victims other than the two — Roslin (49) and Padma (52) — who were allegedly lured to the couple’s home by Shafi with monetary promises.
Both women sold lottery tickets to earn a living, police had said.
According to the remand report, Roslin was persuaded by prime accused Shafi after promising a whopping Rs 10 lakh to act in a porn film and brought to the crime site. It also said it was Laila, who murdered her.
Padma, who went missing in September, was offered Rs 15,000 for sex and lured to the couple’s home by Shafi, according to the report.
While investigating Padma’s disappearance, police found Shafi’s involvement which led them to the couple. Only thereafter did the police come to know about the murder of Roslin in June by the trio. All three were sent to police custody by a magisterial court here and the order has been challenged by them in the Kerala High Court.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)