An occultist in eastern India, who beheaded a baby and drank its blood in a ritual two years ago, has been sentenced to death by a regional court.
People of Kalakuri village in West Bengal found Lakshmi Kanta Sarkar performing rituals and drinking blood from the severed head of a baby at a temple of Hindu goddess Kali near a graveyard.
The local people beat him up and handed him over to the police. The police started a suo motu case - a situation in which a judge acts without being requested to do so by either party in a case. However, a total of 17 witnesses testified against the sorcerer in court.
The fast-track court of Sulagna Dastidar in Bankura district described the crime as one of its rarest of cases, and gave the man a death penalty.
"Sarkar was convicted and a fast track court considered the case to be the rarest of the rare and awarded him the death penalty Monday," public prosecutor AK Chattopadhyay told news channels.
In India, crimes such as these are often committed against infants and young children though there have also been cases of adults being offered as blood sacrifice.
Gruesome crimes inspired by blind faith in astrology and magic arts are mostly reported in tribal regions of the country.
About four months ago in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, a man killed his eight-month-old infant and offered it as a sacrifice to Goddess Kali.
Last year, a seven-year-old girl was murdered by two men and her liver offered as a sacrifice to 'gods' for better crop yield. The incident took place in a tribal district of Chhattisgarh state.