Five women lynched in India by villagers suspecting witchcraft
Patna: Five women have
been killed in Kanjia town of Jharkhand state in eastern India by villagers who
believed they were witches, according to local officials.
The killings took place
in a rural community in the state of Jharkhand, where there are frequent
reports of fatal attacks on women who locals say have cast curses that are
blamed for poor crops, illness or misfortune. The killings often disguise
family feuds or land disputes.
In the latest incident
villagers with sticks and knives attacked the five women on Friday night in the
town of Kanjia, police officials said.
“The women were dragged out of their home
while asleep and beaten to death by the villagers suspecting them to be witches
… some were even stoned to death,” said Jharkhand police spokesperson SN
Around 50 villagers
were arrested, Pradhan said, adding: “The entire village was involved in the
crime.” Police said the attackers packed the victims’ bodies in sacks and
discarded them outside the village boundary, according to witnesses.
A family member of a
victim said: “They raided our home shortly past midnight. We prayed for mercy
but they hardly listened to our appeal.”
Police said the
arrested villagers did not show any remorse. “What can you expect from the
society when even educated youths join the angry mob?” said a local lawmaker,
Gangotri Kujur, who visited the spot afterwards.
According to Indian
government statistics around 2,000 people, almost all women, were killed after
being branded witches between 2000 and 2012. Many attacks go unreported,
In July police in the
north-eastern state of Assam arrested 16 people after the killing of an alleged
witch. Authorities said at least 90 people had been stabbed, burned or killed
in other ways over the previous six years in the state.