Eight men were arrested this week as part of a human trafficking ring in West Bengal, India, after the authorities uncovered 365 bones in a village, CNN reported. The deputy head of state police, Ajay Sharma, said he believed the bones had been pulled from the bodies of the deceased in the Bordwan district.
“The bone has been cleaned with hydrogen peroxide for sale locally to doctors and medical colleges,” Sharma told CNN.West Bengal has been a well-known center for human trafficking on the black market since a human remains ban was imposed in 1985, the Associated Press reported. Before the ban, human rights groups began questioning the methods of bone collection. Today, the only legal way to get human bones in India is through the hospital.
In 2007, authorities uncovered hundreds of human femur and human skulls in India, and were arrested in connection with smuggling. The smugglers are said to have taken the remains to Bhutan for use in Buddhist monasteries.
“During the interrogation they confessed that the hollow human thigh bones were in great need in the monasteries, and they were used as blows, and the skulls were used as containers for drinking from religious ceremonies,” said Ravinder Nalwa, the investigating officer, during the interrogation.
The Buddhist monks in India said that the human parts mentioned were used by those who practice a certain Tibetan school of Buddhism.
More recently, human skulls have been found on the Internet. National Geographic published a story in 2016 on human skulls that could be purchased on eBay. Apparently, between 2012 and 2013, scientists discovered more than 450 human skulls listed on the online market.