In what appears to be a case of ‘human sacrifice’ or ‘witchcraft’, a seven-year-old boy’s body was found in the almirah of a neighbour at Malko village near Lambra on the Jalandhar-Nakodar road on Tuesday. The victim’s hands and legs were tied and mouth stuffed with cloth, besides injury marks on the head.
The victim, Gurpreet Chumber, son of Ashok Kumar, a labourer, studied in Class 3 at the local government school.
The body was found from the house of one Mangat Ram, who had taken it on rent from one Rajkumar recently.
The scene at the crime spot suggested that some tantrik rituals were performed in the house. Among the things recovered from near the almirah where Gurpreet’s body was found were two lemons, chicken liver, liquor bottles, green chillis, flowers, bricks and pictures of several children.
Mangat and his wife had left for a pilgrimage to Chintpurni on Monday and the house was in the custody of his cousin, whose identity the police were yet to ascertain.
As per information, Gurpreet was last seen with Mangat’s cousin in the house at 8pm on Monday.
Victim’s cousin Naresh Kumar said, “When Gurpreet did not return till late at night, we thought he may have fallen asleep. We were surprised when Mangat knocked at our door at 11pm to enquire if the keys of his house were with us.”
Naresh said they tried to trace Gurpreet and Mangat’s cousin in the village, but to no avail. He said after some time, he (Naresh) and Gurpreet’s father Ashok scaled the wall of Mangat’s house and opened the door. During the search, Ashok found Gurpreet’s body with hands and legs tied in the almirah. Mangat and his wife also managed to escape from the village, he said.
Mangat Ram and his wife had no child and the couple had taken the house on rent only two weeks ago.
Gurpreet’s family members said footage of a CCTV camera installed outside a shop in the village showed Mangat’s cousin offering candies and biscuits to Gurpreet.
A team of the Lambra police led by Kartarpur assistant superintendent of police (ASP) Bhagirath Meena visited the spot. A post-mortem was conducted at a hospital and the body was handed over to the family in the evening.
A case has been registered against Mangat and his unidentified cousin for murder and criminal conspiracy. Both the accused are absconding.
Meena said, “Till the time there is some concrete proof or confession of the accused, I can’t confirm this as a human sacrifice.” He said there were injury marks on the boy’s head. The post-mortem report will ascertain the cause of death, he said.
Sixth murder in two months
It is the sixth murder in the jurisdiction of the Jalandhar rural police in the past two months. On July 14, a human torso was found in a travel bag dumped near a brick kiln of Mehmadpur village in Adampur. In another incident, a woman’s body was found at Chuharwali village a few days ago.
On July 3, an old woman was murdered and her granddaughter kidnapped at Sanora village near Bhogpur town of the district. The granddaughter was, later, found injured seriously. On the same day, farmer Sukhdev Singh (46) was found murdered under mysterious circumstances at a dera of Sangh Dhesian village near the district’s Goraya town.
On June 25, two gunmen killed a dera head, Pritam Singh (62), at Barchuhi village in Bhogpur town. Special investigation teams (SITs) are working on these cases.