An illiterate labourer and his wife killed the youngest of their four children near a temple in a lower middle class locality here on Thursday. They confessed to having done so in the misguided belief that this would bring them luck and fortune.
Sahib Singh, 35, who loads sand on trucks, confessed to thumping two-year-old Sachin child repeatedly on the chest to kill him, the police said. His wife Mamata, 30, who works on and off as a labourer, was present at the spot with her brother Pramod (only name known) when the child was killed, the police said.
The couple said they had performed the human sacrifice on the advice of Pramod who told them that a tantrik had prescribed the killing.
The ‘child sacrifice’ came as the culmination of rituals conducted on the child by his parents over the past six days.
The couple was taken into custody by the police and freed later. Sahib has lodged a case of culpable homicide against his wife, her brother Pramod and the unknown tantrik.
The crime was detected when locals saw the trio, including Pramod performing rituals on the child’s body near the Devi Temple in the city’s Srinagar locality in central Agra.
Pramod, who lives in Etah district, 150 km northeast of Agra, is absconding and the identity of the tantrik has not been ascertained.
City Superintendent of Police Uday Pratap Singh said, “Pramod, under the influence of a tantrik, apparently misguided the two into killing the boy.”
The officer said the body had been sent for an autopsy. “I will seek a report from the chief medical officer (of Agra district) to ascertain the exact cause of the death. It seems the lungs have been badly damaged due to constant resistance and the child succumbed in the process.”
Surprisingly, Singh said there was no law to curb such social evils. “There is no legal binding to trace and eliminate (such crimes) but if such cases come to our notice, we will definitely take stern action,” he said.
News of the killing spread like wildfire and a huge crowd gathered near the couple’s rented tenement. On getting information, a police team rushed there and took the duo into custody.