Karnataka – Press statement regarding a possible case of human sacrifice

February 14, 2012

Issued by Narabali Virodhi Vedike (Bengaluru)

The human sacrifice that took place at Thirumaladevara Koppa in Ranebennuru taluk of Haveri district on 26 November 2011 has already drawn the attention of the people all over the state. A 17 year old dalit boy by the name of Basavaraja Kadimani was sacrificed to set right Vastu Dosha of the house of Basavanagowda of the same village. Basavaraja was working with Basavanagowda , a land lord, as a tractor driver. In fact almost all the members of his family had worked for the landlord at one time or the other in the past.

Nijalinga Swamy, popularly known as Tatu Ajja of Niralagi near Gadag used to visit Basavanagowda very often . Under his guidance the land lord had already performed many rituals on various occasions. On 26th November, 2012 Basavaraja went to his master’s place at night and did not return. Next day early in the morning the members of his family–father, mother and elder brother–were informed by the police of Haligeri police station that Basavaraja had been injured in a fight with Ninganagowda, the son of Basavanagowda and had been hospitalized. The police took them not to the hospital, but to the police station where they told them that their boy had been killed and not just injured. They were brought to a spot near their village where they saw a gunny sack containing the dead body of Basavaraj. The body bore marks of vermilion and turmeric . It also had a hole on the forehead. An eye had been plucked out and a few teeth were missing. The parents and others suspected that it was a case of sacrifice and complained to the police on those grounds. But the police did not register it as a case of sacrifice but continued to maintain that it was only a murder. Later on the villagers also found traces of blood sprinkled all over around the house. When the police opened the doors of the house nearly 50 days after the incident blood marks were also found inside the building. Still the police were not ready to consider the angle of human sacrifice in this case. Ninganagowda, the son of Basavanagowda had surrendered to the police saying that he had killed Basavaraja.

Members of People’s Democratic Forum and Swabhimani Dalita Shakti visited the village on 9th January 2012 met the villagers including the parents and relatives of Basavaraja and also the police officer (Dy S P of Ranebennuru) investigating the case. We found that in spite of the evidence and complaints by the parents, the police are not ready to consider the angle of human sacrifice seriously. They have been insisting that it was only a murder committed by Ninganagowda suspecting illicit relationship between Basavaraja and his (Ninganagowda’s) wife which on verification does not sound credible. The people of the village and also various other progressive elements of the area held a protest rally and demonstration at Ranebennuru on 30th January 2012 to press the demand to consider it as not merely a murder but as human sacrifice. It is only then that the sorcerer Tatu Ajja’s role will be exposed. It is essential not merely to find out the truth but also to prevent any recurrence of such superstitious practices in future. But somehow the police of Ranebennuru are not prepared to move in that direction . This will only protect the sorcerer and the head of the family Basavanagowda.

Already an application has been made to the State Human Rights Commission and an appeal to the honourable governor of Karnataka has been submitted through the Tahasildar of Ranebennuru.

Demands:

1) The police of Ranebennuru should take the complaint of the parents of Basavaraj seriously and treat it as a case of human sacrifice.
2) In case of the local police failing to do so the case should be handed over to the CBI by the state government.
3) The sorcerer Tatu Ajja and the head of the family Basavanagowda who was responsible for the murder/sacrifice should be arrested.
3) Compensation should be paid to the family according to rules existing in such cases.

Shivalingam (Swabhimani Dalita Shakti)
Nagari Babaiah (People’s Democratic Forum)
Nagaragere Ramesh (People’s Democratic Form)
Kranti Govind(Swabhimani Dalita Shakti)
Ramadas Rao (P U C L)