New Delhi -

Police in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh said on Tuesday they had arrested a suspected witch-doctor and two others for sacrificing a child.

The 12-year-old boy had gone missing from his village in the Bhadohi district on May 12.

His body was found on the outskirts of the village three days later.

“The three accused were arrested on Sunday and charged with murder. The witch-doctor admitted they had offered body parts as an offering in a yajna (ritual) to gain occult powers,” district police chief Subhash Chandra Dubey said.

Police recovered body parts from a temple where the three had apparently performed the ritual.

Hinduism in India has a centuries-old tradition of human sacrifices to appease deities, gain prosperity or ward off evil.

Rare cases are still reported from regions where superstitions hold sway. - Sapa-dpa