Sansari Ojha, a 70-year-old priest has been arrested in Odisha for allegedly beheading a man, believing that the killing of the man will end the coronavirus pandemic.
The man who was killed was a 55-year-old man. He was beheaded in the premises of the temple on the 27th of May 2020, Wednesday night, the police said.
Police officials said that Sansari Ojha is a priest at Goddess Brahmani temple in the Bandhahuda area of Narasinhapur block in Cuttack. Ojha claimed he was divinely ordained to carry out the beheading by the goddess in order to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic, the police said.
On Wednesday night, when the victim Saroj Kumar Pradhan visited the temple and was bowing before the goddess, Ojha came from behind and rained blows on Pradhan’s neck with a scythe.
The accused went to the police station after committing the crime in order to surrender. Ojha said that four days back, the goddess ordered Ojha to offer a sacrifice to keep the coronavirus at bay.
Acting on the confessional statement of the accused, police rushed to the spot, opened the priest’s restroom, and recovered the decapitated body. The murder weapon lying near it was also seized.
Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Athagarh, Alok Ranjan Ray, said “A scientific team has visited the spot. We are investing the crime from different angles. Though the accused has confessed to carrying out a human sacrifice to appease the goddess for keeping the coronavirus at bay, we suspect he may have killed Pradhan after a sudden provocation as both had shared weed in the restroom”.
The police have also learned that the priest had a long-standing dispute with the deceased over a mango orchard on the outskirts of the village.
Nevertheless, the body has been sent for post-mortem and further investigations are on.
In the meanwhile, Odisha reported sixty-seven new cases of COVID-19 on the 28th of May 2020, Thursday. The state’s tally now stands at 1,660, according to the state health department.
Of the new patients, 65 had recently returned to the state from various parts of the country and were indifferent quarantine centers across different districts in Maharashtra, while the other two patients who were detected with the infection as a result of the contact-tracing exercise, the health department said.