Guwahati: Just about 48 hours ahead of the beginning of the historic Ambubachi Mela in Guwahati, Assam, sensation prevailed in the Nilachal Hills following the recovery of a headless body of a middle-aged woman near the Durga Temple on Wednesday.
However, reacting sharply to the development, the authorities at Kamakhya Temple have expressed serious concern over the incident and have termed it a conspiracy by anti-social elements to malign the image of the shrine.
The doloi (priests) community of the shrine said that there is no convention of such sacrifice that can be found in the history of Kamakhya temple. Conventions like animal sacrifice still exist in Kamakhya temple. As such, only male buffaloes and male goats are sacrificed at Kamakhya, sources said.
Police sources informed EastMojo that prima facie it appeared to be a case of human sacrifice based on superstitious belief. Some items used for offering pujas have also been recovered near the body.
“Nothing could be said for sure at this moment. Our teams are on the job. However, the identity of the woman is yet to be ascertained,” police sources added.
The incident took place at a time when the Nilachal Hills is teeming with security personnel in view of the forthcoming Ambubachi Mela.
“The chopped part of the body is yet to be recovered and the investigation is on nab the culprits behind the incident,” police said, adding: “There was no sign of struggle in the body of the deceased and that she might have been made unconscious before being hacked to death.”
Meanwhile, a team of police personnel has also been asked to survey all the cremation grounds in Guwahati to find if whether any suspicious acts or rituals were performed there.
Exhibits collected from the spot will be sent for forensic examination on Thursday. The blood stain pattern is also being analysed and the body will be sent for autopsy on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the authorities in Kamakhya temple have expressed ignorance over the whole issue and said that they came to know about the incident only from the police.
Earlier on Thursday, the organising committee of Ambubachi Mela 2019 informed EastMojo that security has been beefed up in and around the Nilachal hills in the city in an effort to avoid any untoward incidents. Over 300 CCTV cameras, including temporary ones are being installed to monitor all kind of movements during the four days of celebrations.
For the first time, a new baggage-checking machine is also being installed in the parking area of the temple. Bamboo barriers are also being put up to control large crowds of people.
Over 25 lakh devotees from different parts of India and across the world are expected to set foot at the holy shrine of Kamakhya in Guwahati, Assam for the four-day Ambubachi Mela from June 22 to 26.
Due to an expected increase of footfall by up to five lakh this year, the district administration and the temple management committee are leaving no stone unturned to make it a grand affair.
Ambubachi Mela, also known as ‘Kamakhya Devi Puja’, is held annually at the Kamakhya temple atop Nilachal hills in Guwahati. During the four days of the religious congregation, the doors of the temple will remain closed from 1.40 am on June 22 to 6 am on June 26 as the presiding goddess of the temple, Devi Kamakhya, is believed to undergo her annual cycle of menstruation.
Union minister of state for tourism Prahlad Singh along with Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal and senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma are likely to present during the opening ceremony of the programme at Sonaram Field in Guwahati at 4 pm on June 21. Renowned Bollywood folk and classical singer Kailash Kher will also perform ‘bhakti sadhna’ to enthral devotees at the opening ceremony.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to attract tourists to other destinations of the city, the state government has decided to provide free ferry services to nearby Umananda Temple in North Guwahati.