Indian villagers kill five for ‘witchcraft’

Suspecting that they were practicing the black magic, five women have been brutally killed in Kanjia village of Jharkhand which is about 45 kilometers from the capital Ranchi.


The village falls under Ranchi’s Mandar block. Authorities have arrested 24 people, believed to have been involved with the women’s murder.

Superintendent of Police (Rural) Raj Kumar Lakra said a group of villagers used lathis and sharp edged weapons to kill the women at around midnight. “In the age of knowledge, this incident is sorrowful”, he said, urging members of society to “ponder over it”.

Belief in witchcraft and the occult remains widespread in some impoverished areas of India. Expressing grief at the killing of five women, Jharkhand State Women’s Commission Chairperson (JSWC) Mahua Manjhi told PTI, “Lack of education, road connectivity to towns and cities, unemployment and awareness are some of the reasons behind “dayan bisahi” (superstition of witchcraft)”. Around the same time, a couple and their four children were burnt to death in Odisha for allegedly bringing disease to the village.


Jharkhand’s Chief Minister Raghubar Das condemned the killings. He had been accused of sorcery. The National Crime Bureau Records (NCRB) has estimated 2097 people have been killed across the country on allegations of witchcraft between 2000 and 2012 and 363 of those cases have been from Jharkhand.

5 Women Killed in Jharkhand on Witchcraft Allegations