Human skull found in woman religious leader’s bag at Indian airport

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File image: The woman was eventually asked to leave the remains with a friend at Indore’s Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport (pictured) (Cpbaherwani/Wikimedia)
File image: The woman was eventually asked to leave the remains with a friend at Indore’s Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport (pictured) (Cpbaherwani/Wikimedia)

A religious leader was stopped at the Ahilyabai Holkar airport in India's Madhya Pradesh state for carrying a human skull and bones in her luggage, authorities said.

Sadhvi Yogmata Sachdeva, a resident of neighbouring Ujjain, was booked to board a Vistara Airlines flight to Delhi when she was found with the human remains. During luggage scanning, security personnel asked her to open her bag and, to their shock, the skull was discovered inside.

When interrogated by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Aerodrome police station’s officer, the woman said she was taking the ashes of a fellow monk for immersion in Haridwar, a city by the Ganges famous among Hindu pilgrims.

According to the authorities, individuals are required to inform airport management and seek permission when carrying ashes. The remains are then only allowed to be carried in hand luggage. However, the sadhvi (priestess) was travelling with the remains in her main check-in luggage bag.

"She had not asked for special permission to carry the skull or other remains. The sadhvi was allowed to board the flight once the police recorded her statement," an airport source told The Independent.

The woman was directed to leave the remains with an acquaintance in Indore before boarding. Amid the confusion and police questioning, the woman missed her evening flight, but the airline allowed her to board the next scheduled flight at night.

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