New Delhi/Meerut: Even as the gruesome memories of Nithari killings are yet to fade, a similar hair-raising incident has taken the entire nation by storm.
In what would sound like a horrendous nightmare, locals have busted a 150-member gang, which allegedly used to slaugther abducted children, roast their bodies and eat them after failing to strike a handsome deal with child traffickers.
On Friday, people of Bhudabral village in Meerut's Partapur swooped down on a youth and rescued an abducted boy from his clutches. The villagers handed over the accused to the police after beating him black and blue.
During interrogation, the youth, identified as Amarjeet, has disclosed he is a member of a child trafficking gang and is paid Rs 10,000 to kidnap children on board trains in Delhi and Haryana.
The police were left aghast when Amarjeet confessed that gang members cut abducted children into pieces, roast their bodies and eat them after failing to strike a handsome deal with child traffickers, IG, Meerut range, Rajiv Krishna said.
The accused has also confessed to abducting a large number of children from nearby areas and selling them to child traffickers in Delhi and Haryana, Krishna said.
The police have sent Amarjeet for medical examination and are awaiting report to chalk out future action.
According to the District Crime Records Bureau (DCRB), at least 89 children are missing in Meerut for the last few years.
The department has formed a missing cell, in wake of the rise in the number of missing kids, DCRB in charge Pramod Sharma said.
The incident has left the villagers petrified, especially after the recovery of skeleton remains of a boy from Kashi village in Partaput last month. Police are also yet clueless about a minor boy, who is missing for the last five days from the same area where Amarjeet was spotted.
Meerut's connect with Nithari killing is not new. In 2007, the CBI had raided the Meerut residence of the former Nithari police post in-charge Simranjit Kaur.
During interrogation, Moninder Singh Pandher, one of the accused in the Nithari killings, had alleged that he had bribed her to clear his name in a case relating to the abduction of one of the victims.
While scrutinising Pandher's mobile phone records, the CBI had found that more than 30 calls were exchanged between him and Kaur last, creating suspicion about her role.
The serial murders took place in the house of businessman Pandher in Nithari between 2005 and 2006. On February 12, 2009, both the accused Pandher and his domestic help Surender Koli were found guilty of the 2005 murder of 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar by a special sessions court in Ghaziabad.
The verdict left the CBI red faced, as the agency had earlier given a clean chit to Pandher in all its charge sheets.
Both the accused were awarded death sentence on February 13, 2009, as the case was classified as "rarest of rare".
On September 10, 2009, the Allahabad High Court acquitted Pandher and overturned his death sentence. He was not named a main suspect by investigators initially, but was summoned as co-accused during the trial. Panther faces trial in five cases out of the remaining 12, and could be re-sentenced to death if found guilty in any of those killings.