Thirty-five-year-old Pandu Naghesia was always a bit strange, so said the locals of Samri, a tiny hamlet in Chhattisgarh. But the horror that he would unleash one fine day was beyond their wildest imagination.
Naghesia’s mind had just snapped the day his wife and children left him. The day after, Wednesday, four women and five children fell to the axe-wielding madman’s fury.
Around noon, Naghesia charged out of his house brandishing an axe and went straight to the village hand pump.
A 60-year-old woman was filling water, her tiny grand-daughter in her arms. Without a word of warning, he rained blows on her neck. “The infant miraculously survived,” said an eyewitness.
The man then went on a rampage that the petrified villagers could only watch.
Two girls who came to the pump, two elderly women in a hut, two more girls at the pump, inside a home a sleeping young woman and her child — the list just grew.
Finally, it was too much for the locals. “Most of the men were at work, but the rest threw stones at Naghesia till he fell,” said Balrampur collector CR Prasanna.
Kept in chains at the police station, Naghesia appeared dazed. “I don’t know what has happened. I don’t know who have been killed,” was his only response to policemen’s queries.