The National Human Rights Commission on Saturday issued a notice to the Kerala government in a case related to the murder of two women, purportedly as part of a human sacrifice for financial prosperity.

The commission, which took suo moto cognisance of the incident, observed that such incidents cannot be expected in a civilised society where a human being is killed in the name of a ritual without any fear of law.

The two women, Rosily and Padmam, were killed in Elanthoor village in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district. Rosily had been missing since June 6, while Padmam disappeared on September 26.

Their bodies were exhumed on October 11 from the home of a couple identified as Bhagaval Singh and Laila. The police arrested the couple along with a man identified as Muhammed Shafi alias Rasheed, a native of Perumbavoor.

According to the police, Shafi had lured Padmam for sex work by promising her Rs 15,000 but killed her over an argument over the promised money.

Similarly, Rosily was killed after she was lured by Shafi to the couple’s home after promising Rs 10 lakh. The police claimed that Singh chopped off her breasts before the rest of her body was cut into pieces and buried.

Kochi City Police Commissioner CH Nagaraju had said the three accused persons may have also consumed the flesh of the women but there is no evidence of cannibalism yet.

The three accused were sent to police custody for 12 days on Thursday. Shafi, who is named as the main accused in the case, is also accused of raping a 75-year-old woman in the past.

In Saturday’s notice, the National Human Rights Commission asked the Kerala government to submit a report on the case within four weeks.

It also asked the government to submit the status of the investigation and compensation, if any, paid to the families of the two women.

“The state, being the guardian of its citizens, is responsible for their safety and cannot escape its liability to protect them from such evil practices,” it said.