A murder investigation has been launched after the torso of a woman was found near Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, days before the famous Ambubachi Mela gets underway.
Though the head priest of the temple has rejected that it could be a case of human sacrifice, sources in the police said they hadn't ruled the possibility yet.
The body, wrapped in a blanket, was found on the stairs, leading to the temple atop the Nilachal hills.
"The police and district administration have informed us about the incident. It (human sacrifice) can't happen here at Kamakhya because as per the ritual, a goat or a buffalo, that too a male, is sacrificed," Kabindra Dev Sarma, the head priest of the temple said.
“It can be a murder and some people are trying to send a wrong message ahead of the holy festival – Ambubachi Mela,” Sarma added.
Police, however, said that the first impression suggests it could be a case of human sacrifice. "We can ascertain it only after the inquiry, but we can’t rule out the possibility,” said a police officer. “It can be a murder as well,” he added.
Commissioner of Police Deepak Kumar said the police have recovered some elements relating to puja near the body. When asked to comment on the state of security, Kumar said the incident occurred in an isolated area.
“We have full security here, in and around the temple. We will try to find the culprits soon,” he said.
Meanwhile, the famous Ambubachi Mela, eastern India’s largest religious congregation, starts on June 22 at the Kamakhya temple.
Lakhs of devotees belonging to the Shakti sect of Hinduism take part in the Ambubachi Mela, which is believed to be the seat of the tantric cult.
Ambubachi Mela, also known as Ambubasi festival, is held annually during monsoon which is closely related to the tantric cult and is also known as Kamkhya Devi Puja. It is believed that Goddess Kamakhya goes through her menstrual cycle during these days and therefore the temple remains closed for the next four days.
When the temple doors are opened, the devotees wait outside the temple to receive the unique ‘prasad’ which is small bits of cloth, which is supposedly moist with the menstrual fluid of Goddess Kamakhya. It is considered highly auspicious and powerful.