A 50-year-old Indian woman has been killed in a human sacrifice ritual by six people, including a tantrik, in Nalasopara, a suburb of India's commercial capital, Mumbai.
All six men have been arrested a day after the western Indian state assembly of Maharashtra passed an anti-superstition bill.
The woman, who was killed as a sacrifice, was identified as Kalavati Gupta when her son recognised her headless body in photographs.
According to The Times of India (TOI), Kalavati regularly visited Sarvajeet Kahar, who works as a technician in Air India's transport department and practised black magic at home. She was seeing Kahar for a cure for her 30-year-old paralysed son.
Kalavati's neighbour Ramdhani Yadav (33) and his brother Gulab (28), were also visiting the tantrik and were advised by him to perform a human sacrifice for health, wealth and prosperity.
The police said that the tantrik first asked for an animal sacrifice but later stressed on a human one.
"He (Kahar), however, emphasised that human sacrifice was supreme. That is when the Yadav brothers thought of sacrificing Kalavati," Thane's rural additional superintendent of police Sangramsinh Nishandar told TOI.
Gulab and Yadav, who is an auto-rickshaw owner, also included an auto driver, Shyamsunder Gupta (42), in their plan for killing Kalavati.
They lured her to a prayer session and took her to a secluded area in Nalasopara in the night. There, the trio were accompanied by the tantrik, his son Pankaj (22) and cousin Satyanarayan Gaud (48).
According to the police, auto driver Gupta first slashed Kalavati with a knife when she bent down for worship; the others followed to help him behead her.
Kahar has admitted to his crime and revealed that he has carried out another human sacrifice in the past. He also said that his father too practised black magic.
All the accused have been taken in custody for murder, destroying evidence and also booked under the sections of the anti-superstition bill.