500 skulls discovered in house

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The Independent Online

Police in the east India city of Calcutta found 500 human skulls and skeletons in a house after responding to a complaint about a foul smell coming from the building.

"We have sealed the building after the Calcutta Municipal Corporation lodged a complaint with us," Prabir Kumar Saha, the police officer investigating the case, told the press agency Reuters, yesterday. "Investigations are still at an early stage and a clearer picture on what these [the skeletons and skulls] were being used for, will emerge soon."

Javed Khan, the senior official whose complaint prompted Thursday's raid on the house, said it was possible the bones were being used in rites of Trantrism, whose priests believe that human bones are essential for attaining "siddhi", or salvation. Tantric rites, which are as old as the Vedic practices, were adopted by Buddhists and spread to Tibet.

The discovery in Calcutta follows the find by police, in June, of 86 human skulls at a bus stand in Siliguri city, about 375 miles to the north. Police were alerted by complaints of a stench, this time coming from an unclaimed bag.

Darjeeling police said they had no idea about the identity of the victims, or why they had had their heads cut off. The heads had all been carefully sawn off, some as long as five or six months previously. They were sent for forensic tests.