Daughter of a woman killed in witch hunt
Daughter of one of the women killed for 'practicing witchcraft'.ANI

Villagers killed five women on the outskirts of Jharkhand capital Ranchi late on Friday night, accusing them of practising witchcraft.

The incident took place in Mandar police station area, about 45 km from the city.

"They killed them one-by-one using swords and lathis around 11 pm. The mob also tored their clothes," ANI quoted the daughter of one of the victims.

"The incident happened after a boy in the area who was suffering from diseases died. His family blamed my mother for the death," she added.

The villagers blamed the five women for the ill-health of the children in the area and lynched them, reports said.

Witch Hunt
Body of one of the victims.ANI

While police were investigating the matter, preliminary findings suggested that the villagers killed the women without any outside influence, according to NDTV. However, no arrests were made so far.

Witch Hunt
Bloodshed in the name of witch hunt.ANI

According to the data from the National Crime Records Bureau, of the 2,100 cases of witch hunting registered across the nation from 2000 to 2012, highest 363 incidents were reported from Jharkhand. Although there is an anti-witchcraft law in Jharkhand since 2001, such incidences have been on a rise in the state.

Apart from Jharkhand, other states which witness cases of witch hunting include Bihar, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

Apart from Jharkhand, only three other states -- Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Odisha -- have specific law against the social evil.