Different trigger, same crime

A 60-year-old man has been hacked to death for allegedly practising black magic that killed a child in Birudih village near Adityapur industrial area, 10km from Jamshedpur.

The decomposed and dismembered body of Narayan Kandia, who went missing since Sunday evening, was recovered from a jungle 2km from his rented village house on Wednesday morning. One person has been arrested, while police are looking for another key accomplice.

According to local RIT police, Narayan was known in Birudih for using his "powers" to cure ailments. So, when his neighbour Vikas Kandia's three-year-old son took to bed sometime last month, the doting father approached the elderly man who obliged. However, the child died after a week of "treatment".

An infuriated Vikas, along with another villager Mistry Bankera (40), hatched a murder plot. The latter has been arrested and is being interrogated about Vikas.

ASP Deepak Sinha said on Sunday evening, Vikas and Mistry went to the weekly market, where they bumped into Narayan.

"They spoke to him briefly. We don't know about what exactly though. Later, around 11pm, the two barged into the victim's house. They first hit him with an iron rod and when Narayan became unconscious, dragged him to the jungle. The elderly was then hacked to death with a chopper," Sinha said.

Narayan's wife and son were in Chaibasa at the time of the incident. Someone informed them on Monday that the old man was missing. A complaint was lodged with RIT police the next day and a search launched.

Around 7am on Wednesday, police received information about a decomposed and mutilated body in the jungle. It was later identified as that of Narayan's.

ASP Sinha said from the beginning, they suspected the murder to be linked to black magic "because the victim was known to have special powers". "On digging into the background, we came to know about the death of the child a month ago. Suspecting that the parents may be involved, we started probe," he said.

He added that Mistry had confessed to the crime and revealed that they killed Narayan because they suspected he had killed the child intentionally.

The officer-in-charge of RIT police station said a manhunt had been launched for the child's father and the key accused.