In what could be termed as an advanced form of banamati or sifli ilm, members of a nameless sect have made eating human flesh a part of the pujas they perform to find hidden treasures.
The human flesh comes in a package along with other articles required for a special puja. The samagri, as the package is called, which includes a 100 gm piece of roasted human flesh, is reportedly supplied to members of the sect through some agents in Hyderabad. "Maas to samagri ke sath hi aati hai (the flesh comes with the samagri)," Boudhey, a member of the secret sect, told The Times of India.
Boudhey is presently involved in a puja on the periphery of Dadgi village in Humnabad taluk of Bidar district. Though the sect is still in the initial stages of formation, its practices are considered much more dangerous than banamati and sifli ilm, the two notorious forms of black magic in the area that falls in the erstwhile Hyderabad state. Most of the members of this new sect reportedly hail from Hyderabad, Medak and Bidar districts.
But as the special puja must be performed only at a secluded place, they hire houses in small villages in Medak and Bidar districts. Most times, they are forced to leave the place once the villagers learn about their activities. In some instances, alleged performers of this weird ritual have been killed by villagers on suspicion of being practitioners of banamati.
Since 1999, seven such suspected practitioners were killed by villagers in Medak district while 12 others were forced to leave the villages. Despite resistance, followers of new sect manage to rent small houses to perform the puja. The 40-day ritual, it is learnt, starts on a new moon day which falls on a Sunday. At the conclusion of the puja, they believe, a supernatural figure that looks exactly like the person performing the puja appears and leads him to the hidden treasure.
But to ensure success in the puja the ritual performer has to eat human flesh. If he fails in the first attempt, another puja of the same duration is conducted, this time with a greater quantity of flesh.
The first incident that gave rise to suspicions of human flesh-eating practice came to light about six months ago in Hallargaon village in Bidar district. Some villagers stormed the house of a person in the village on suspicion that he was practising `banamati. They were shocked to find a few human bones and pieces of roasted flesh. "He was an outsider and he never returned to the village," Abdul Haneef, a villager said.
Please note the word "banamati". Chances are you will be seeing and learning more about it in future posts in this blog. Its a form of black magic practiced in southern India. Everything from revenge against somebody to treasure hunting is rumored to be possible with the help of banamati. Wierd superstition or fact? You decide.