Human sacrifice is not new in India, where many superstitious people are fooled by sorcerersto kill human beings to ward off bad luck.
One such incident has been reported from Uttar Pradesh where a man allegedly "sacrificed" four minor girls to cure his mentally ill wife on the "advice" of a tantrik (sorcerer). The man even inflicted cruelty by raping the girls before "sacrificing" them.
The man, identified as Sonu, was arrested by the state police on Thursday.
Sonu was on the lookout for three more girls as the tantrik had advised him to kill seven minor girls in all, reports The Times of India.
The incident came to the fore when a mob of around 100 men pulled out Sonu's friend Lalua Balmiki from a police station in Mathura on Tuesday and lynched him holding him responsible for the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl.
The girl's body was found in the bushes near Agra's Parkham village early this week.
"A girl about 14 years old was raped and murdered on November 23, 2010. She had arrived in the village for a wedding but never returned to the venue after wandering out," said Omkar Sharma, sub-inspector of Farah police station in Mathura.
Sonu was also with Balmiki during the mob attack and was badly injured, and admitted to Agra's SN Medical College, where he confessed to the killing of the 12-year-old girl, his fourth victim.
Sharma said Sonu also admitted to killing three more girls in the past.
"The second was a child, just four years old. She was killed in 2012. Her body, with the head smashed in with a large stone, was recovered in the village. He (Sonu) said the third girl was a nine-year-old. He did not recall the date of that murder," said Sharma.
However, Sonu refuted the allegations of both rape and murder. He said Balmiki killed the girls for him. "I never killed anyone. I have never raped anyone. When I told Lalua of what the tantrik had said, he told me he would finish off the girls for me," he told the TOI.
The police are, however, not ready to accept his claim. "Lalua is already dead, so he can't defend himself. It's easy to foist everything on a dead man," an officer said.
Sonu's family has alleged that most of the men in the mob were from an upper caste, whereas, Sonu and Balmiki are Dalits. The family also alleged that their houses have been torched and they were forced out of their village.
"We have been forced out of the village, we have nowhere to go now," Sonu's father Shyamlal said.
BSP leader Achindra Paras has condemned the mob lynching and said people must not take law into their hands. "It is a serious matter that Dalits were lynched and their houses burnt. We will take up the matter with higher authorities," he said.
The police, on Wednesday, registered an FIR against 100 unnamed men for the lynching of Balmiki. Four policemen have also been suspended for not taking strict action against the mob to prevent them from killing Balmiki.