A group of ultra-superstitious people in the Indian city of Nirmal in the state of Andhra Pradesh have killed a teenage boy, 14, in a belief that the sacrifice would help obtain hidden treasure in the region. The gruesome gang crime was committed on Thursday, which was India’s 63rd Republic Day.

The incident sparked fury among the victim’s relatives, who blockaded roads to demand prompt action from the police, the Indian news agency Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) reported.

The police said they recovered the body of the boy, Ganesh, about 250 kilometers from the city, at a fort where the murderers believed a secret treasure was hidden. Autopsy report suggested that the boy was killed on the intervening new moon night of Jan. 24-25.

According to a Press Trust of India (PTI) report, the body was covered with turmeric powder, vermilion and other religious materials that point toward a suspected case of human sacrifice.

The boy was reportedly sold to a man named Prabhakar for $405 (Rs. 20,000) by a man named Raju, who is in custody and has confessed to his crime. Prabhakar and other members of the gang are yet to be traced, the police said.

While the police are in search of the accused, local people said that many in the region believe that human sacrifices yield supposed-to-be-hidden treasures in the area.

In July 2011, billions of dollars worth of jewelry, gold, silver, diamonds and precious stones were discovered from an underground chamber of a 16th-century Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Human sacrifices were prevalent in the ancient and pre-historic times across the world and still occur in some remote regions. A sacrifice is considered a murder in every country. In 2003, the Supreme Court of India announced death penalty for anyone found guilty of human sacrifice, following the killing of a nine-year-old girl “to appease a deity” in the country’s eastern state of Jharkhand.

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