Vikash Sharma

Is a serial killer on the loose in Chingudighai under Purushottampur police limits in Ganjam district of Odisha?

The fear is haunting scores of residents in the region after a man was found brutally bludgeoned to death with a stone on late Sunday night.

The reason for the fear however, is that the killer has boldly announced his ‘next target’ in blood beside the body. The body of the deceased, identified as Binay Pradhan, was recovered from the premises of the village temple on Sunday night.

However, the villagers were in for a shock when they discovered the name of the next victim scribbled on the ground in blood by the suspect.

The incident has triggered fear and panic as the villagers suspect the involvement of a manic serial killer, who they have nicked named ‘stoneman’, in the brutal murder.

However, the deceased’s family alleged that he had been murdered for opposing the sale of illicit liquor in the area.

“Around 5-7 persons are involved in the murder of my brother as he had been opposing the sale of illicit liquor by them. There were some disputes between my brother and these youths in the area. We had also pleaded before them to spare my brother after the issue was resolved. But yesterday, they killed my brother,” alleged Prashant Pradhan, brother of the deceased.

The presence of a suspected ‘stoneman’ has not only spread panic, it has also raised several questions regarding the safety of the inhabitants in the area. The riddle that murder was the handiwork of some psychopath or it was the fallout of some past rivalry, can only be solved after the police managed to lay their hands on the killer.

Gauda (a driver by profession), who found his name scribbled as the ‘next target’, said he learnt about the murder in the village around midnight.

“I received a call regarding the brutal murder of Binay Pradhan who was a friend. I have no enmity with anyone. The killer has written my name in blood. I am not scared of such threats,” he said.

Meanwhile, police have detained three persons for questioning and further investigation into the murder case is underway.

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