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Goan serial killer’s day out
PANAJI, OCT 3 (IANS):
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Published on 3 Oct. 2010 11:22 PM IST
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In a state known for well toned bikini-clad bodies on the beach, Goa’s alleged serial killer Mahanand Naik, 43, used a more conservative clothing appendage to snuff out 16 lives - all of them women.
A ‘dupatta’, a longish scarf, which he slipped around the neck of most of his victims who were allegedly strangled over a period of 16 years. Naik ran out of luck in May when he was arrested after a 22-year-old woman complained that he blackmailed and raped her repeatedly. Naik claimed he was forced by police into confessing to the 16 murders and the solitary rape.
“They showed me how a person is strangled with a dupatta. They hit me with iron rods. I was taken to various spots in a police jeep. Police were also carrying bones wrapped in the plastic bags and planted them at the spot before conducting the panchanama (search),” Naik told IANS.
“He banked on the social stigma which dogs middle-aged unmarried women from a poor background. By offering marriage, he would lull his victims into a comfort zone and then kill and rob them,” said retired Superintendent of Police Apa Teli, who was formerly posted to the Ponda area, in central Goa, which was more or less Naik’s zone of ‘silent terror’. According to police, Naik’s craftiness and steel-like temperament could well qualify him to the sobriquet “father of (Charles) Sobhraj” (a serial killer of Vietnamese and Indian origin who preyed on Western tourists throughout Southeast Asia in the 1970s. He was, incidentally, caught once in Goa in the 1980s.)
Sabina Martins, a leading social activist, who was formerly part of the Goa State Commission for Women (GSCW) said that the scope of Naik’s crime should not be restricted to law alone.
According to her, the murders committed by Naik over 16 years, was a cruel reflection of how society treats women from poor economic backgrounds.
“Mahanand’s case goes much wider than law. It is a societal malaise. He took advantage of the poor economic background of his victims and the societal pressures which forced women to latch on to him in desperation the moment he (Mahanand) broached marriage,” Martins said.
“He had a standard formula. Married himself, he picked poor, not-so-good-looking women who were on the wrong side of the 20s or early 30s. In the course of investigations, the parents admitted to us that they had difficulty getting their daughters married off,” said a police official investigating the case.
Naik has already been acquitted in three of the 16 murder cases by trial courts for lack of evidence.

 
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