NEW DELHI, India – When it comes to stories of serial killers, India is often overshadowed by the mainstream narratives of American crime. However, the country has its own share of horrifying tales of crime and serial killing that have haunted different parts of India. One of the most popular representations of these serial killings is the Indian Predator series on Netflix.
Serial killings in India are strongly influenced by the social and cultural implications of the societies they are based in. This leads to a different pattern in the way the crimes are executed, as well as the motives that trigger them. Some of the most horrifying Indian serial killers include Charles Sobhraj, Raman Raghav, the Nithari Killers, and Jolly Joseph.
Charles Sobhraj, also known as the Bikini Killer, is known to have murdered Western tourists during the 1970s. He reportedly killed at least 20 people, with 14 of the murders occurring in Thailand. After escaping conviction for a long time, he was eventually imprisoned in India until the 1990s, and later tried in Nepal. Sobhraj was finally released and deported to France in 2022 due to his old age. His crimes are the subject of the Netflix series The Serpent.
Raman Raghav, also known as the Jack Ripper of India, haunted the streets in and around Mumbai during the 1960s. He killed at least 41 people, targeting random victims and using heavy, blunt objects as weapons. Raghav was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found to be schizophrenic.
The Nithari killers, responsible for a horrifying series of children’s murders in 2006, remain unidentified. More than 16 victims were reported in the Noida serial murders, but the two accused individuals, Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant Surinder Koli, were acquitted by the court, leaving the case inconclusive to this day. The case has been the subject of an Indian documentary called The Karma Killings, which is available on Netflix.
Jolly Joseph from Kerala is known to have killed six people between 2002 and 2016. Her crimes, initially motivated by greed for family property, escalated to include poisoning her victims with cyanide. She was finally caught when suspicions were raised by her husband’s brother. A Netflix documentary called Curry and Cyanide: The Jolly Joseph Case explores her crimes, also known as the Koodathayi Cyanide case.
These cases serve as a chilling reminder of the presence of serial killers in India, revealing the complex and disturbing nature of such crimes in the country. Whether motivated by greed, psychosis, or other reasons, the impact of these killers on their victims and their communities is a sobering reality.