Human sacrifice is not just a topic found in world history textbooks. The Indian government has been cracking down on the practice in recent years, an occurrence that can be prevalent in rural areas of India where people are illiterate, superstitious, or influenced by Maoist rebels.
In October 2011, two farmers allegedly killed a 7-year-old girl, Lalita Tati, and sacrificed her liver to the gods in anticipation of a good harvest.
India Today reports that the men, Padam Sukku and Pignesh Kujur, strangled and murdered the girl in , part of the Bijapur district in India.
The AFP reports that the Lalita's body was found one week after her family reported her missing, and that the two men confessed to the crime.
According to the Digital Journal, sacrifices are often made in Chhattisgarh to appease deities or spirits, but human sacrifice is found in other places, too: “In 2010, the decapitated body of a factory worker was found in a temple in the eastern state of West Bengal.”
The Digital Journal also mentioned a 2006 report by The Guardian, which tells the story of a 43-year-old woman in the village of Barh (Khurja province), who kidnapped a 3-year-old from her village. With the help of her two sons, she mutilated his body before sacrificing him to the goddess, Kali. She hoped the process would stop her from having frequent nightmares, as a travelling “holy man” told her it would.
The Digital Journal reports that Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, said: "Modern India is home to hundreds of millions who can't read or write, but who often seek refuge from life's realities through astrology or the magical arts of shamans. Unfortunately these people focus their horrific attention on society's weaker members, mainly women and children who are easier to handle and kidnap."
In the case of Chhattisgarh, others blame the influence Maoist rebels, who are frequently featured in the media for other acts of violence.
The BBC reported in November 2011 that Maoist rebels kidnapped 15 employees and contract workers in the Jamui district. The group, which is active in several states, “say they are fighting for the rights of indigenous tribal people and the rural poor.”
While there may not be a solid connection between the human sacrifices and Maoist influences, the Indian government launched a major operation to fight the rebels in 2009, the BBC reports. A portion of the 50,000 troops involved in the mission were sent to none other than Chhattisgarh, the same place where a seven-year-old girl was killed in the name of a bountiful harvest.