6 arrested in India for murder of woman suspected to be a ‘witch’

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Six men have been arrested in connection with the murder of a woman whom they suspected of practising witchcraft and her four children in eastern India, police said on 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 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.

According to National Crime Records Bureau data, no fewer than 100 people, most of them women, are killed every year on suspicion of practising witchcraft. (dpa/NAN)

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