ANDHRA PRADESH, India — A four-year-old boy was beheaded this week after he was apprehended by a man who sought to sacrifice him to a Hindu goddess.
The incident occurred on Wednesday as the child was leaving nursery. He was apprehended by Tirumala Rao, 35, and reportedly strangled before being beheaded. Police state that Rao was seeking “divine powers.”
The boy’s mother, concerned that he had not yet returned home, went to the nursery and was informed that Rao had left with the child. She then went to Rao’s house, where she discovered the child’s body covered in blood with his head separated.
Upon hearing the mother’s cries, other villagers came to see what was the matter, and after seeing the dead body, searched for Rao until they found him. Upon apprehending the man, the villagers beat him and then tied him to a pole and doused him with gasoline, setting him on fire. Reports state that the irate neighbors accused the man of witchcraft and murder.
Unnamed elderly persons in the village then contacted the police, who ended up saving Rao’s life as he was taken to the hospital with burns on 40 percent of his body.
‘This is a first-of-its-kind incident in Prakasam district,” police Superintendent Ch. Srikanth told The Hindu. “‘Once he recovers, he will be subjected to questioning after an examination of his mental condition by a psychiatrist.”
He further explained to the outlet that Rao kept company with those involved in occultic rituals and had tried to abduct an 18-month-old child the day before. Rao will face murder charges after being evaluated.
According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, the Hindu goddess Kali is considered to be the goddess of doomsday and death. She is often depicted as being black or blue with numerous arms and a necklace of decapitated heads. Sometimes she holds one of the heads in her hand. Kali is also portrayed as standing on her husband, the Hindu god Shiva, known as “the destroyer.”
“Worshipped throughout India but particularly in Kashmir, Kerala, South India, Bengal, and Assam, Kali is both geographically and culturally marginal,” it outlines. “Since the late 20th century, feminist scholars and writers in the United States have seen Kali as a symbol of feminine empowerment, while members of New Age movements have found theologically and sexually liberating inspiration in her more violent sexual manifestations.”