A murder investigation is underway in India after a priest allegedly cut off a man’s head as part of a ritual sacrifice to ward off coronavirus.
Holy man Sansari Ojha, 72, has reportedly been arrested after admitting killing a man inside a temple to appease the gods in an effort to rid the world of the pandemic.
The bizarre claims are emerging from a town in India, with a report by India.com calling it a shocking incident of religious practice.
The Brahman temple priest is alleged to have butchered his victim, 52-year-old Saroj Kumar Pradhan, with an axe after an argument broke out.
A heated argument between the two allegedly led Ojha to hack Pradhan with an axe and he died instantly on the spot.
The killing took place on Wednesday night in Odisha’s Cuttack district.
It is claimed Ojha surrendered to Narasinghpur police the morning after the incident, which occurred at Bandha Maa Budha Brahmani Dei temple, near Bandhahuda.
India Today reports the priest told police he carried out the crime after dreaming about similar “orders from god” according to which coronavirus will be dispelled on a human sacrifice.
Police have since seized the axe used in the murder.
Police DIG Central Range Ashish Kumar Singh told the paper: “Preliminary investigation reveals the accused was heavily drunk at the time of incident.
“The next morning when he came back to his senses he surrendered and accepted the crime.”
He added that the incident remains under investigation.
The victim’s body has been sent for post-mortem.
It has been reported by the locals at Bandhahuda village that a mango orchard on the edge of the village has been the subject of a long-standing dispute between the priest and the deceased.