Five women were stripped and paraded naked in Deoghar district of Jharkhand after being charged of witchcraft, police said on Monday.
Five women, including three widows, were forcibly brought to a field Sunday in Patharghatia village in Deoghar, about 350 km from state capital Ranchi. They were stripped and paraded naked and two of them were forced to eat excreta, police said.
"Sushila Kumahrin, Sagiran Beebi, Hafijan Beebi, Sujan Beebi and Gulnar Beebi were tortured to accept that they were witches and practise black magic. The incident took place at the instruction of a witch doctor. The witch doctor said that these women were practising black magic and were causing problems in the village," a police officer said.
The women were rescued when local government officials and police reached the spot. However, the perpetrators managed to escape.
According to reports, hundreds of people witnessed the incident.
"We have lodged an FIR (First Information Report) against 11 people, including six women. We will soon arrest the perpetrators," the officer added.
Majority of perpetrators were Muslims and four of the five victims belonged to the same community.
In Jharkhand, women are subjected to different forms of torture after being branded witches. There are instances when women have been paraded naked, forced to eat human excreta and even killed.
According to official data, more than 700 people, majority of them women, were killed after being branded witches. The witch doctors manage to escape as people fear black magic if they are named.