07/27/2015, 00.00
NEPAL
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Four arrests in a case involving a 10-year-old child killed in a witchcraft sacrifice

by Christopher Sharma
The child’s name was Jeevan Kohar. He was playing near home and was tricked into following his murderers with a box of biscuits and the equivalent of 50 cents. His body was offered in sacrifice to Hindu gods in order to cure an 18-year-old man. The latter’s father said he feels guilty for his action. Lawyers staged a protest in front of parliament against Hindu superstitious practices, which are used to justify the murder of innocent people.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepali lawyers gathered in front of the country’s parliament to demand severe punishment for the people involved in the murder of a 10-year-old child, who was killed as part of a ritual sacrifice to Hindu gods meant to cure a young man.

The case has shaken the country and comes only a few weeks after two women (one of whom a self-styled sorceress) were convicted in connection with the murder of a three-year-old child who was killed for his blood as part of witchcraft initiation related to certain Hindu ritual practices.

The incident took place last Tuesday, 21 July, in the city of Kudiya (south-central district of Nawalparasi). The victim was a 10-year-old boy, Jeevan Kohar, son of Parmanand Kohar. Last Saturday, police arrested four people involved in the case, including a shaman (pictured).

The main suspect is Kodai Harijan, who confessed to the crime. He tricked the child, he said, and then killed him to offer his body to the gods so that his sick 18-year-old son could be cured.

"No faith deserves respect if its practices are evil,” said Lawyer Baijanath Chaudhari, who, in front of the Parliament of Nepal, called for Kodai to be severely punished. “In the name of Hinduism, such a practice is diabolical.”

“The Hindu holy man, the shaman and all those involved in the ritual murder should be punished with life in prison,” he added, “and their assets should be seized.”

During his interrogation, Kodai described the cold-blooded murder in detail, police said.

On 21 July, his son Bijay, who was ill, asked to be “pacified with human flesh”. Hence, the father tried to give his son this treatment, by tricking a neighbouring child with a box of biscuits and 50 Nepali rupees (US$ 0.50).

He bought some incense sticks and camphor, called in a shaman and ask two friends to help him in the murder. The first friend held the boy’s head and hands, the second, his feet, whilst Kodai cut his throat with a hatchet.

The murderer reportedly said that he felt pangs of guilt at what he had done. "We did not plan to kill this child,” he told police, “but we found only him at the time."

At the same time, he tried to justify to the authorities his son’s request, by saying he was "under the spell of a ghost."

According to Investigators, the suspect tried to hide his involvement, helping relatives look for their missing child and reassuring them of his return.

Police officer Nal Prasad Upadhyaya said that those arrested will be charged with murder in a court of law.

"Scores of children are killed and sacrificed to provide fresh blood and flesh to the Hindu deity of evil,” he explained. “This is an ancient Hindu tradition and many people still believe in gurus, wizards and spells.”

"Furthermore, many people choose to go to Hindu gurus or shamans before going to hospital. There are many superstitious practices in the Hindu religion that must be corrected immediately, "he added.

"This is a human crime and all [those involved] should be punished,” said Parliamentary Speaker Subas Nemwang. “No one ought to be exempt because of his religion. Hinduism cannot protect social evils."

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