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In a case of suspected "human sacrifice", the blood-splattered beheaded torso of a 25-year-old man was found outside a temple of Goddess Kali this morning at a village about 15 km away from Bolpur town in Birbhum district.
Police sources said in rural Bengal, such acts of superstition and primitive religious rituals are not uncommon, especially on sankranti, which fell last night.
A senior police officer said the torso was of a male body and was found near the altar placed in front of the temple in a village called Paruldanga. It was first spotted by the temple's priest around 5 am when he went there for prayers.
"The slain torso had new clothes on the body. His hands were not tied. There was no indication of any resistance on the victim's part. It seems he was drugged and was completely unconscious when he was slaughtered," said the officer, who visited the spot and saw the torso.
"Several articles of worship like burnt incense sticks were found near the body. There was blood stain on the altar. Tantrik (occult) rituals are generally performed on amavasya and sankranti," added the officer.
A police team sent to the area with sniffer dogs around 9 am was led to the house of a villager named Lalmohan Hansda.
Birbhum SP Rabindranath Mukherjee said, "It seems to be a case of a human sacrifice. But it can also be a as we have found injury marks on the face. We have picked up a person from the village."