A self-proclaimed Indian holy man who claimed his right leg had magical powers was seriously ill in hospital today after two men chopped it off.
Yanadi Kondaiah, 80, said that those who touched the leg would be cured of illness or have wishes granted.
"This seems to be a case of superstition. The two people might have taken away the leg hoping to benefit from its magical powers," said a police spokesman.
"We are looking for the miscreants as well as the leg," he added.
Superstitions, belief in magic and the occult remain widespread in much of rural India.
Kondaiah, from the Chittoor district, a remote area more than 300 miles south of Hyderabad, told police the two men plied him with drink as thanks for previously helping them with his magical touch.
After he passed out drunk the men chopped off the leg below the knee with a scythe and left him to die. Passing villagers found him and took him to hospital.