India ‘witch doctor’ sentenced to death

AFP-JIJI

An Indian “witch doctor” who beheaded an 11-year-old boy and offered the head as a sacrifice to a goddess to improve his fortunes has been sentenced to death.

A local court in impoverished Chhattisgarh state convicted Dilip Rathia, 32, of murder and sentenced him to hang for beheading the boy, police said Tuesday.

“We proved the man beheaded the boy and his head was offered to the local goddess to obtain better luck,” investigating officer Praful Thakur said.

The case, which highlights the persistence of occult beliefs in remote areas, came to light when police found the child’s headless skeleton in the tribal-dominated village of Barpali in the Raigarh district, 195 km northeast of Raipur, the state capital.

Forensic tests proved the skeleton was that of an 11-year-old boy named Praveen who disappeared in February 2012 while visiting a village fair, Thakur said.