In what could perhaps be described as a nightmare on a busy street, a 60-year-old Indian man was spotted carrying the severed head of his wife in broad daylight in the western Indian city of Pune. The man, who has been identified as Ramachandra Chavan, is suspected of having beheaded his wife on suspicions of her being involved in an illicit relationship with another man, though the full details of the case will only be made available once the police have conducted the initial investigation.
According to NDTV, Chavan was seen walking with the head of a woman in the early hours of Friday morning, holding it by the hair, and carrying an axe in his other hand. Passing motorists and pedestrians could scarcely believe their eyes as the lanky old man, clad in white, appeared completely indifferent to his surroundings. In a mobile video, which has since emerged from the scene, two beat constables can be seen trying to approach the old man.
The incident took place in Katraj area of Pune, one of the most populous cities in the world, comprising of more than 5 million people. According to DNA, once the beat constables saw Chavan carrying the severed head, they tried to accost him, hoping to grab the axe from his hand. Once they had successfully managed to get hold of the axe, they covered the woman’s head with a piece of cloth, as shocked bystanders stood rooted to the spot, unable to comprehend the bizarreness of the situation. Apparently, the man made no attempts to resist an arrest, after which he was immediately handed over to Pune Police, who have filed an FIR against Chavan.
Business Standard reports that Ramachandra killed his 45-year-old wife, Sonubai, after suspecting an illicit relationship between her and their son-in-law. He has been booked for murder (IPC 302) and may have to face lifetime imprisonment, or he may even receive capital punishment for the heinous crime.
The Indian media has gone into overdrive since the man was spotted this morning, and dramatic footage of the scene has since been airing on television channels across India. Some media outlets reckon that the man might be mentally impaired to have beheaded his wife, while others believe that the ghastly incident hints at a recurring pattern that could be worrying.
Only a few days ago, international media was abuzz with the news of a 4-year-old Indian boy who had reportedly been beheaded as a “human sacrifice” as part of a witchcraft ritual in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. In July, Purni Orang, 63, was stripped naked and beheaded by villagers in Assam state on suspicions of her being a “witch,” according to BBC News. And while the present case might be an isolated incident, it is not completely surprising to see a woman fall prey to such a gruesome crime.
India, one of the biggest economies in the world, still grapples with medieval belief systems, which, upon closer inspection, usually morph into an alarming level of violence perpetrated against women. The present case might be an open and shut case, as many have pointed out, but investigators will do well to find out what really pushed this Indian man into decapitating his wife without as much as a blink of an eye.
[Photo via Dan Edwards / Unsplash]