Murder in Vain

Little is known of Kanpatimar Shankariya, except that he was born in 1952 in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. And that between 1978 and 1979, he confessed to killing over 70 men and women by bludgeoning them with a hammer behind the ear, earning him the nickname, Kanpatimar, which literally means “one who strikes under the ear”.

Starting in 1978 across Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, people were found mysteriously murdered with a broken neck. Because of the lack of disclosure from the Indian government, who did not release his trial transcripts, nothing is known about how he was captured by police. The mystery around one of India’s worst serial killers is heightened by this near total lack of information or media coverage that continues today, despite the enormous number of his victims.

Unnamed sources at the time stated that Kanpatimar would attack his victims late at night, those walking alone down the dark streets of Jaipur. He would wait patiently in alleyways until someone would happen by, and then pounce. In this sense, his murders were arbitrary, not motivated by some form of sexual desire, which plays a role in over 70% of serial murders, or greed, or fame. In fact, all he allegedly told police was that he killed because he simply enjoyed it.

He was hung on Wednesday, May 16th,1979. Cryptically, his last words were: “I have murdered in vain. Nobody should become like me.

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