Police in southern India said Monday they had arrested a self-styled Muslim "fakir" for the gruesome murder of an infant boy in a ritual he believed would lend him supernatural powers.
Abdul Gafoor, a mystic who claimed he could perform magical feats, had confessed to kidnapping the 18-month-old in the southern city of Madurai and then beheading him, police inspector Chidambaram Murugesan told the news agency.
"During questioning, he said he had a dream and heard a voice saying he would get extraordinary healing powers if he sacrificed a male child," Murugesan said.
Gafoor, aided by a female accomplice, had collected a bottle of the child's blood and then buried the torso, after which he performed various rituals before throwing the bottle into the sea.
Murugesan said Gafoor had led police to the burial site where the body was found with a garland of beads, some "holy ash" and the portrait of a goddess.