In a shocking incident of religious practice, 72-year-old Brahman priest of Bandha Maa Budha Brahmani Dei Temple butchered a man to death to offer human sacrifice and appease the gods in order to ward off COVID-19. Sansari Ojha immediately surrendered before the police after committing the crime at the temple near Bandhahuda under Narasinghpur police station. Also Read - UP Govt Caps COVID Treatment Cost in Private Hospitals; Check Rates Here

The incident took place on Wednesday night in Odisha’s Cuttack district after an argument ensued between 52-year-old Saroj Kumar Pradhan and Ojha, related to the ‘sacrifice’. The heated argument led Ojha to hack Pradhan with an axe and he died immediately on the spot after suffering the blow on his head. Also Read - Amitabh Bachchan COVID-19 Positive Health Update: Hospital Says He's Stable

A report in India Today stated that in his defense, the priest told the police that he did so after dreaming about similar ‘orders from god’ according to which, coronavirus will be dispelled on a human sacrifice. While the police called the priest mentally unstable, they have seized the axe that was used in the murder. Also Read - Coronavirus in Delhi: Capital Witnesses Steep Decline in Active COVID-19 Cases

In an interview with the news agency, social activist Satya Prakash Pati expressed his shock saying, “It’s unbelievable in 21st century that people still behave in such barbaric ways. We demand strong action against the guilty.”

Police DIG Central Range Ashish Kumar Singh said, “Preliminary investigation reveals the accused was heavily drunk at the time of incident. The next morning when he came back to his senses he surrendered and accepted the crime.”

While the body has been sent for post-mortem, it has been reported by the locals at Bandhahuda village that a mango orchard on the periphery of the village has been a long-standing dispute between the priest and the deceased. Currently, further investigation is underway.