Bhubaneswar: Denizens of Cuttack heaved a sigh of relief after police announced the arrest of a suspected serial killer on the prowl in the city on July 29.
The accused was charged with murdering three homeless persons in the Millennium City on July 23 and 24. The three murders within 24 murders had triggered fear in Cuttack and police launched a massive manhunt for the killer lurking in the dark shadows.
The accused was identified as Narayan Sahu, a bangle seller of Sunamuhi near Odagan in Nayagarh district. Police said he was caught after examining CCTV footage from the crime spots. Though police are yet to establish Sahu’s complicity in the murders, the circumstantial evidence and the nature of crime clearly suggests that the crimes were the handiwork of a psychopath.
But this is not the first such incident of serial killings to have rocked Odisha or other parts of the country for that matter. Here’s a list of such notorious crimes in the state and elsewhere in the country that made the headlines:
The state witnessed its first case of serial killing in Ganjam district in 1999. As many as nine persons were found murdered in different areas of Berhampur city between May and August that year. Police finally cracked the case by arresting Mahesh Padhi, a betel shopkeeper.
Padhi was caught red-handed while trying to murder four persons on August 29, 1999. He was taken to the Indian Institute of Hypnotism in Hyderabad for some tests. But while returning, he gave the slip to his police guards by jumping off Falaknuma Express near Palasa railway station on September 22.
He was finally nabbed from Chandikhole in January 2000 after police tracked his call records from a landline number of an owner of a video cassette library near Chandikhole Chhak. On the basis of the statements of four witnesses, a court sentenced the serial killer to life imprisonment.
In 2011, Jajpur police arrested one Sunil Jena of Binjharpur area for crushing the head of the four homeless persons with a stone while they were sleeping. Police forwarded the accused to Jharpada Jail in Bhubaneswar on July 22, 2011. A year later on April 30, a court convicted Jena for the serial killings and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
Another serial killer, Siba Behera, was arrested by Paradip police in Jagatsinghpur district on August 8 this year. He was charged with murdering two mentally-challenged persons.
During interrogation, Behera confessed that he derived pleasure after killing the two homeless persons. Asked about his modus operandi, the accused revealed that he had taunted the two victims before killing them.
According to his confession, Behera had gone to Nehru Bangala market in the morning of June 28 and provoked the two deceased. Later, he again went to the market late in the night and killed them by crushing their heads with a stone while they were asleep. Following the twin murders, police kept a close watch on the market and detained Behera when he was found moving suspiciously in the area.
Besides Odisha, incidents of serial killings were also reported from Mumbai (Maharashtra) and Kolkata (West Bengal).
In Mumbai, as many as 13 pavement dwellers were found murdered with their heads crushed with heavy stones. All the murders took place while the victims were sleeping at night near Sion on the outskirts of Mumbai and the suburban Kings Circle railway station area.
Though the murders took place at phases between 1985 and 1988, police are still clueless as to the identity of the ‘stoneman of Mumbai’.
Similar killings had rocked Kolkata in 1989. As many as 13 pavement dwellers were found murdered with their heads crushed with stones. At that time, an English daily in Kolkata had carried out a cover page story titled, ‘The Stoneman’. Police suspected that it was the handiwork of the psychopath in Mumbai who had found a new hunting ground in Kolkata. However, the link couldn’t be established and police are still in the dark about the killer who had unleashed terror in Kolkata with his murderous spree.
The Making Of A Psychopath
According to experts, psychopaths and serial killers suffer from a condition called anti-social personality disorder (ASPD). It stems from a variety of genetic and environmental factors like substance abuse by parents, separation from a parent or lack of parental involvement and physical abuse or neglect during childhood. However, psychopaths are not easily identified as they often come across as socially affable persons.
Scientific studies have revealed some telling signs and symptoms of psychopathy like superficial charm and fluency, exaggerated sense of self-worth, constant need for stimulation, lying pathologically and conning people, being manipulative, and lacking any feeling of remorse or guilt.
They also have shallow emotions, callousness and lack of empathy, adopting a parasitic lifestyle by using others to do their work, poor control over behavior, promiscuous sexual behavior, behavioral disorder in early life, no realistic and long-term goals, impulsive, irresponsible, blaming others and refusing to accept responsibility, several marital relationships, delinquency when young, revocation of conditional release and criminal versatility.