GUWAHATI, June 20 - Even as a vigorous police investigation into the gruesome murder of an unidentified middle-aged woman atop Nilachal Hill last evening is continuing, the incident has triggered a sense of insecurity among certain sections of devotees and local residents, even as multiple theories continue to emerge on whether it could be a case of human sacrifice or not.
The murder took place under extremely mysterious circumstances on Wednesday, just two days ahead of the Ambubachi Mela.
In view of the gruesome incident, the management of the temple too has urged the police and district administration to ensure full-proof security in and around the Nilachal Hill during the Mela days.
“It is nothing but a cowardice act by miscreants who want to create disturbance during the Ambubachi Mela. A few years back, another such incident took place in the foothill of Nilachal ahead of the Mela,” said Bhupesh Sarma, one of the core members of Kamakhya Temple Management Committee.
However, refusing to buy the argument of human sacrifice, Sarma said, “Kamakhya is a place where women are worshipped as part of the ritual, irrespective of their age-group. The theory related to human sacrifice is totally baseless. No Maa Kamakhya Sadhak (devotees dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya) could indulge in such a heinous crime. It could be the handiwork of someone who does not believe in Dharma.”
Sarma vouched for periodical review of the security system on the Nilachal Hill during the Mela days. “The temple where the body was found is located down the hill, where movement of public is less. There are many temples located all over the hill where public gathering increases only during Ambubachi Mela. So the police administration should ensure proper security arrangement at all those places,” he said.
According to Sarma, along with Kamakhya Temple, there are around 25 temples located in different parts of the Nilachal Hill.
“It is a not a case of human sacrifice. However, the incident did expose loopholes in the security arrangement on the Nilachal Hill. No such incident had ever taken place near the temple. Police should take stern steps to apprehend the miscreants,” said Bhadra Sarma, a resident of Kamakhya locality.
A shopkeeper near the Kamakhya Temple, requesting anonymity said, “The incident might have taken place due to superstitious belief of some people. So we cannot rule out anything. There are still some people who are ready to do anything for their own benefit.”
“I have been running my business at Kamakhya for the last ten years and for the first time such an incident has been reported ahead of the Ambubachi Mela. I am not sure what happened exactly, but it is sure that still some people do resort to superstitious practices as part of ‘Tantrikism’,” said another shopkeeper at Kamakhya.
Not willing to read too much into the incident, Chandan Kumar Sarma, another member of temple management committee said, “The incident will be investigated by the police and now our aim is to successfully organise the Ambubachi Mela. Already all types of preparation have been made and I want to urge all sections of people to cooperate with us.”
Meanwhile, as part of the security arrangement, the Guwahati police commissionerate has deployed altogether 2,000 security personnel in the city, especially on Nilachal Hill and the rest camps. A large number of security personnel have been brought in from other districts along with 11 DSP-level officials.
“From today we start deployment of police personnel in all places as required. We will never compromise with the security issue during the Mela days,” said Guwahati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar.
Reacting to the murder, he said, “We found some items used for performing rituals at the crime spot. But I could not say whether it was a case of human sacrifice case or not. Investigation is on to nab the miscreants.”