Charaideo (Assam): A five-year-old girl has been found murdered in Assam’s Charaideo district in a suspected case of human sacrifice and an occult practitioner arrested, police said on Wednesday.

The girl, youngest of five siblings, was kidnapped from her house in a tea estate by unidentified people while she was asleep on Monday night and her eldest sister filed a missing complaint with Sefrai police station on Tuesday.

The child’s body was recovered from Singlu river on Tuesday night and red cloth with ashes along with other materials used in tantric rituals were found on the riverbank, indicating that this could be a case of human sacrifice, a senior officer said, adding her body has been sent for post-mortem examination.

A ‘sadhak’ (occult practitioner) has been arrested and a manhunt launched to nab the main occult practitioner who is the prime accused in the case, he said.

The girl’s parents have been interrogated and 10 people including her father detained for further questioning, the officer said.

An investigation is underway and the angle of human sacrifice is not being ruled out, he said, adding there have been previous incidents of human sacrifice in the Adivasi-dominated tea gardens in the area.

In 2016, a four-year-old girl had gone missing from another tea garden in the area and her mutilated body was recovered a few days later.

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