Perhaps not surprisingly, most serial killers of India operated with money-motive or sectarian anger. Though there are exceptions like a 57 year old merchant murdering for the sheer pleasure of it, in a country where poverty and status-pressures are high, more than a few innocent lives were ended for the sake of material gains. With the rich-poor divide on the rise, this may well be one menace that won’t cease all that easily.
1. Anand Kulal aka Mohan Kumar(Cyanide Mohan)
This guy is not just a serial killer, he was also a science teacher in a primary school. Surely such kind of credentials are rare? His mode of operation included proposing marriage to women, have sex with them on the day before the “wedding”(all proposed weddings were supposed to be in secret) and on the morning of the “wedding day” kill them using cyanide and take off with their valuables.
Mallika is considered as India’s first female serial killer. She would befriend wealthy women who visit the temples, pretending to be someone well-versed in all the rituals. She would then invite the victims to a temple far from their home, asking them to come in their fineries to please the gods. When there, Mallika asks the victim to drink holy water or will give them prasad that contains cyanide. She was convicted for 6 counts of murder and is currently serving life sentence.
3. Raman Raghav
It’s Mumbai in the mid-60’s and Raman Raghav is on a murder spree- bludgeoning people to death along the tracks of the Central Railways. Most of his victims were beggars and pavement dwellers. Though he was awarded the death sentence, it was later commuted to life imprisonment as he was found to be mentally unstable. He breathed his last in 1995.
4. Surinder Koli
Koli is linked to the murder of 16 persons though only four of them have been solved so far. He raped and murdered young girls and women in 2005 and 2006. all the killings happened inside the house of a businessman, Moninder Singh Pandher.
5. Beer Man
Beer man is not someone you want to sit down to have a drink with. The name was bestowed on him because of the fact that empty beer bottles were found near the victims’ bodies. Being active in the ‘killing scene’ from October 2006 to January 2007, the identity of the beer man is not yet known.
6. Auto Shankar
Shankar was an auto rickshaw driver who did more than provide his riders commute. From 1988 to 1989, he along with his accomplices, Shivaji and Eldin murdered teenage girls. Shankar got convicted of the murder of six girls in Chennai.
7. Charles Sobhraj
One of the most notorious serial killers, Sobhraj has allegedly committed 12 murders from 1976 to 1997. The fact that he was nicknamed “the bikini killer” gives you an idea of the kind of killings that he did. He was incarcerated in India from 1976 to 1997. Once he was released, he moved to France and from there to Nepal in 2010 where he was arrested and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
8. Thug Behram
Thug Behram murdered 931 people from between 1790 to 1840. His unique murder technique was to throw a handkerchief with a medallion sewn to it around the victim’s threats, thereby adding pressure to the Adam’s apple, making it easier to strangle him. He was convicted and executed in 1840.
9. Devendra Sharma
Sharma was an Ayurvedic doctor who strayed way beyond his professional domains over 20 times. Because that’s how many murders he has committed-and all of his victims were taxi drivers. Posing as a tourist, Sharma would hire a cab. Upon reaching a pre-determined location, he’d let his accomplices inside the vehicle. From there, the gang will take the driver to a secluded place where the driver would be beaten to death. The killers would sell the vehicle in the grey market, the major share of the sale going to Sharma. Arrested in 2004, Sharma was awarded a life sentence in 2007 but was escalated into a death sentence in 2008.
10. Stoneman Killer
From 1985 to 1988, 12 murders of a similar kind happened in Mumbai-all of the victims were homeless, those who were sleeping on the side of the street. The victims’ head was crushed using a stone that weighs around 30 kg.
After a brief pause, the killings began again in 1989-this time in Calcutta where thirteen persons were killed in the same way. The identity of the killers still remain a mystery.
11. Sadashiv Sahu
Sahu murdered 22 middle-aged men of his town because, apparently, he used to get a tremendous urge to kill. Hailing from Fursatganj in Uttar Pradesh he was cloth merchant who would go hunting in the evenings in search of prey. He was arrested in 2004.
12. Chandrakant Jha
Having migrated to Delhi from his village in Bihar in 1986, Jha was working as a labourer when he murdered his employees for the simplest of misbehaving. He was arrested in 2007 and was convicted for six counts of murder.
13. Darbara Singh
This ex-army man murdered the children of migrants in Jalanddhar by slitting their throats. According to Singh, the reason for the heinous crimes was to teach the migrants a lesson for he hated them. In 2008, Singh was awarded the death sentence which was later reduced to life imprisonment.
14. Kampatimar Shankariya
Shankariya murdered over 70 people using a hammer. When he was convicted in 1979 he was just 27. A native of Jaipur, he was hung in May 1979.
Crime is a five letter word with the potential to instil terror. These serial killers of India show that the potential in question may well be near infinite.
Featured Image Courtesy: gq-magazine.co.uk
Also see: Most Evil Serial Killers Of The World