Digras village, Hingoli:
Five children have been killed in Hingoli in Maharashtra by a childless couple on the advice of a tantrik who said the woman would conceive if 11 boys were sacrificed in the village.
Police say villager Vandana Mokle had had no children after 12 years of marriage. So Vandana, her husband and her in-laws went about poisoning village kids.
"The two accused are Kundlik and Kalavati Mokle. Their son Vitthal was married. His wife Vandana wasn't able to conceive. So, they went to a tantrik who told them they would need to kill 11 boys," said M A Raif, Inspector, Digras Police Station.
Between December 13 and March 4, five boys aged between two and four years were poisoned.
The villagers had already become suspicious and the police was informed.
"Initially we thought the deaths were caused by snake bites. But so many children were dying. We realised a snake won't target only children," said Ramesh Dalvi, father of victim.
When the police began questioning villagers, the Mokles were conspicuous by their absence.
That gave the police an immediate lead and on Wednesday the Mokles were arrested.
But by then innocent lives had already been lost at the altar of ignorance, poverty and superstition.