Two men in the northern Indian city of Kanpur killed a seven-year-old girl, extracted her liver and presented it to their relatives as a part of occult practice, according to police. The relatives — a childless couple — believed that eating the child's liver would help them have a child, the police said.

The horrific incident happened on the night of the Hindu festival of Diwali on Saturday when the two men — 20-year-old Ankul Kuril and Beeran — kidnapped the child, sexually assaulted her and strangled her to death. They cut open the girl's body to remove her liver and handed the organ to their uncle Parshuram Kuril, the police said on Tuesday.

According to the authorities, Parshuram and his wife were unable to bear a child for 21 years since they got married. He believed that by practising the occult act and eating a child's liver would help them have a child. The incident came to light after the girl's family searched for her in nearby areas but failed to find her. The next morning, locals spotted her mutilated body a nearby jungle and alerted the authorities.

Occultism
Representational picture Pixabay/kalhh

"Senior officers, along with forensic teams and dog squad, visited the spot and later we found that two youths from the neighborhood had abducted the girl on the pretext of giving her a packet of potato chips. The duo tried to sexually assault her, and when faced resistance they tied her hands", Preetinder Singh, Kanpur Nagar's deputy inspector general of police, told the Indian Express.

The two men and the couple were arrested on multiple charges on Monday. Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh — the state where Kanpur is located — announced monetary help of Rs 5 lakh (about US $6,700) to the child's family.

The practice of child or human sacrifice is still prevalent in the remote areas of the country due to deep-rooted superstitions.

On Sunday, police in India's northeastern state of Assam arrested a man for trying to sacrifice his youngest child after a sorcerer told him he would find hidden treasure in his backyard. However, his plan was foiled after neighbors suspected something was wrong and alerted the authorities, who rescued the children and arrested the man.