The body of a 3-year-old boy who was allegedly sacrificed in an occult ritual has been found buried in a forest.

Police exhumed the child's body from a village near Agra, a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh after some villagers informed them of a suspected human sacrifice in the area. Investigators are now trying to determine the identity of the child, reported news outlet India Today.

The child's body has been sent for autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. Based on preliminary information gathered, police have registered a case and have started an investigation.

"Police reached the spot on receiving information from villagers and dug the area. Subsequently, the body of a three-year-old boy was found buried," Ashok Venkat, superintendent of police, said as per Hindustan Times.

According to villagers, they saw four people, including a woman, visiting the area to perform occult rituals. Before the child's body was found, villagers reportedly recovered a knife, spade and certain items believed to be used for witchcraft from the area.

However, police said the possibility of human sacrifice could only be established after an investigation.

"The child's identity is yet to be ascertained. Those involved in the act are also unidentified and absconding but some locals are understood to have seen them. We are trying to contact the eye-witnesses in order to trace the culprits," India Today quoted Muniraj G, senior superintendent of police, as saying.

Police Line
Crime scene police line | Representational Image Photo: GETTY IMAGES / SCOTT OLSON