Six men have been arrested in connection with the
murder of a woman whom they suspected of practicing witchcraft and
her four children in eastern India, police said Wednesday.
The bodies of the woman and the children were found in a well near
their home in Bada Indipur village in Odisha state on Saturday,
superintendent of police Umashankar Dash said. Odisha was previously
known as Orissa.
"The woman's husband returned home on Saturday morning and found his
wife and children missing and signs of a struggle and bloodstains in
the house. He filed a complaint and a police team and a dog squad
found the bodies in the well," Dash said.
Six men, including the village witch doctor, have been arrested after
preliminary investigations and charged with murder and various
offences under a prevention of witch-hunting law.
Apparently the witch doctor had accused the woman of putting a curse
on the daughter of the prime suspect.
"This girl had fallen ill and the witch doctor Budhram was called to
treat her. When she died Budhram said the woman Mangli was
responsible and instigated the father and the uncles of the dead girl
who have admitted to killing her," Dash said.
Superstitious beliefs, especially in poor tribal areas of eastern and
central India, have been behind similar attacks on women. At least
100 people, most of them women, are killed every year on suspicion of
practising witchcraft, according to National Crime Records Bureau