Priest 'sacrifices' man to end coronavirus in Odisha

A 70-year-old priest was arrested for allegedly sacrificing a 52-year-old man inside a temple in Odisha’s Cuttack district to appease the goddess and end the coronavirus pandemic.

Priest Sansari Ojha engaged at Brahmani Dei Temple in Bandhahuda area under Narasinghpur police station allegedly beheaded a man inside the shrine on Wednesday night, said police on Thursday.

Later, the priest surrendered before the police.

The deceased has been identified as Saroj Pradhan.

The priest claimed he was ordered by the goddess in his dream to sacrifice a human in order to bring an end to the pandemic, the police said.

“The priest claimed that he saw Goddess in his dream and was asked to sacrifice a human’s life to bring to an end to coronavirus. Hence, to appease the goddess, he decapitated the man,” said Alok Ranjan Ray, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Athagarh.

While the dead body has been sent for an autopsy, police have seized the murder weapon from the shrine. Police said they were initiating an investigation into the incident as both had shared weed at the temple.