A middle-aged woman was lynched after being branded a 'witch' in Jhabua district, 341km west from Bhopal, said police. The incident occurred in Piliya Khadan village in the district.
The victim, Ganga Devi (50), was surrounded by 10 people belonging to the same village, who attacked her with lathis. Police sources said her husband, Tolia Damor, tried hard to save her but in vain.
The villagers felt that the woman was a 'daayan' (witch) and her presence in the settlement was responsible for their woes. The victim received multiple injuries and died on the spot. The attackers later fled the spot. The police said the victim died because of head injuries.
None of the accused have been arrested so far. The names of the attackers who were identified include Dhanna, Nahar Singh, Var Singh, Juwan Singh, Munna, Sakaria, Dhanraj, Anil apart from two other unidentified persons.
The incident occurred on the night intervening Sunday and Monday. "We have registered a case of murder against ten people," said a policeman at Kalidevi police station, where the case was registered.
"We have sent teams to different parts of the district. Hunt is on for the accused," he added. In the past also, there have been incidents when women were termed as witches or sorceresses (practitioners of black magic) and later they were killed because of superstition. Also, often lone women have been have been branded as witches to seize their property.