Five women have been brutally beaten to death by villagers who accused them of witchcraft in India.
The Kinjia village in the Jharkhand state was reportedly experiencing several misfortunes. The villagers have blamed this on the five women.
According to Metro UK, dozens of villagers allegedly dragged the women from their homes and beat them with sticks and iron rods, and even assaulted them with knives.
Following the incident, blood stains could be seen on the ground throughout the village.
Police were said to have arrived shortly after the attack and reportedly arrested up to 50 villagers.
A spokesperson for the police told AFP:"It looks like the village held a grudge against these women for a very long time, holding them responsible for… various misfortunes."
The women were blamed for failing crops, bringing illness to the village and even for a recent death of a child through their alleged ‘witchcraft’.
A batch of police officers have been left in the village to prevent any further outbreaks of violence.
Belief in witchcraft and the occult remains widespread in some parts of India. In some cases women are stripped naked as punishment, burnt alive or driven from their homes and killed.
Jharkhand and some other states including have introduced special laws to try to curb the crimes against the people accused of witchcraft.
The chief minister of Jharkhand, Raghubar Das, condemned the latest killings in a statement on Saturday, August 8, urging society to "ponder over it".
"In the age of knowledge, this incident is sorrowful," he said.
The province accounts for about 54 out of 160 barbaric cases of women were condemned as witches and killed in 2013. A total of 400 women have been murdered since 2001 in the state.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 2,097 of such killings between 2000 and 2012 in India have been recorded.