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Making a travesty of enlightened Kerala

One of the basic tenets of Kerala Renaissance was its fight against superstitions and decadent rituals. Malayalees are proud that modern Kerala has been a result of the struggle started by visionaries like Narayana Guru, Sahoderan Ayyappan, V.T. Bhattathiripad and Vakkam Maulavi. The progress alongside those in health and education made Kerala a model to the world. Given this, there is no denying the fact that Kerala is both an enlightened land and people. The distortions happening to the 'enlightenment' are also a storied reality in Kerala. Malayalees getting duped by fake medicine, witchcraft treatments and financial scams do not any more make headlines here. They are just trite occurrences that keep happening. But the shocking revelation yesterday of a 'human sacrifice' is just beyond the pale. Two women have been brutally murdered as part of witchcraft for a family's prosperity. The police sources have brought to light the horrendous crime belying our claim to being enlightened. Our heads hang down in shame.

These demonic murders took place in Elantur near Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district. It must be assumed from police reports that the brutal crime was carried out with proper planning. Muhammad Shihab alias Shafi, who is believed to be the mastermind, created a fake account on Facebook and reached out to the other accused Bhagwal Singh-Laila couple. Shafi, presenting himself as a wizard, lured the couple to perform human sacrifice for prosperity. The couple fell for it when he posted testimonials of generating wealth on his fake FB account. Afterwards, Shafi picked up Roslin, a native of Kaladi and Padma from Kadavantra for sacrifice, promising them 10 lakh rupees to act in movies. They were brought to Bhagwal Singh's house in Elantur at the intervals of two months. After brutally killing them one by one, their bodies were cut up and buried, the accused said in their statement to the police. Even neighbours were ignorant of these months-long 'human sacrifices'. The heart-wrenching incident unfolded when the police, investigating Padma's disappearance, came along in Elantur by chance having tracked her phone number. Human sacrifice is unheard of in united Kerala. Not a single incident has ever been reported. However, human sacrifices for witchcraft have been reported several times in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Only six years ago reports revealed the sacrifice of over a dozen people carried out by granite quarry bosses in Madurai.

Also Read:Gruesome murders of two women in suspected human sacrifice ritual shock Kerala

Authorities came to know about it during an investigation into illegal mining. It was confirmed that human sacrifice was carried out as part of Kali Puja in Bulandshahr, UP in 2006. A few days ago in Tamil Nadu, a witch doctor sacrificed a farmer. All the while human sacrifice was just curious media reports to enlightened Kerala; today it looms as a reality making a mockery of our enlightenment. This is may be the first incident of human sacrifice in Kerala but it is not the first time superstitious and immoral killings have taken place here. How many people have died so far in our state from witchcraft, and fake Siddha treatment? One cannot forget how a young woman was killed in 2014 in Thazhava, Karunagappalli from brutal treatment by a witch doctor. Even after that, sorcerers, jinn healers and black magicians have taken so many lives under the guise of treatment. And the human sacrifice should be perceived as a continuation of all this. We are the people who have resisted the viruses of covid pandemic. It was pulled off through the highly systematic and scientific techniques at hand.

Tragedies like this occur when this alertness is slackened. Let's not forget that the couple involved in the crime was lured by the Facebook and called "Give a call for Wealth and Financial Prosperity". Many similar advertising phrases come to us in many forms. Even our mainstream media are its propagators. Despite being wholly superstitious and inhuman, all these are happening because of propaganda. It is unfortunate we do not have any law to combat them. In the aftermath of this incident, the government needs to mull over the long-time coming anti-superstition law. And, people should be made aware of the dark aspects too. Spreading scientific awareness is a constitutional duty of all—government included.

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