When two-year-old Yug Meshram went missing from outside his house in the village of Khandala, Maharashtra, India on August 22 and was not immediately found, police feared the worst. Evidence has now been uncovered that the boy had been strangled to death as part of a black magic ritual.

The two-year-old was last seen playing with his older brother Harshal, four, outside his home, but vanished when left on his own. The boy’s father contacted police in Bramhapuri whom immediately arranged search parties for him. Pictures of the boy were put up all around the local area, and teams of officers were drafted in to help with the hunt from nearby Nagpur, Wardha, Gadchiroli and Bhandara, all to no avail.

Boy’s father suspected local ‘black magic’ neighbours

Yug’s father Ashok had ideas that his neighbours were involved in the boy’s disappearance. The police conducted a detailed investigation of the locality, and uncovered Yug’s decomposing body in a haystack belonging to one of Ashok’s neighbours, Pramod Bankar.

Under interrogation Pramod and his relative Sunil admitted that they had lured Yug from his home on the day he disappeared, and took him to a nearby deserted field. There they had choked the young boy to death.

Child was ‘ideal’ for black magic sacrifice

It was their intention – the pair claimed – to use the boy’s body as part of a black magic ritual. The aim of the ritual was to uncover the whereabouts of an alleged ‘hidden treasure’. They said they chose the boy because ‘he had three whirls in his hair and was born feet first’ – making him an ideal victim.

Pramod and Sunil have been charged with murder and offences related to the Black Magic Act and Anti-Superstition Act. They are attempting to arrange legal representation, but it is reported that members of the District Bar Council and the Bar Council of Bramhapuri have refused to defend their case.

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