Four members of a family including two women were killed by fellow villagers in central India’s tribal heartland over allegations of witchcraft, authorities said Sunday.
Four elders of a tribal family, all aged in their 60s according to local media reports, were attacked by around a dozen stick-wielding villagers outside their home late Saturday.
“It is linked to some local occult practitioner(s) who blamed some negative development in the tribal village to the members of this family,” Shashi Ranjan, deputy commissioner of Jharkhand state’s Gumla district, told AFP.
Gumla is a densely forested tribal-dominated region some 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the regional capital Ranchi.
“Additional forces have been at the Siskari village since authorities found out about the incident,” he added.
“It is peaceful but no one, not even survivors from the family, are saying anything, probably out of fear.”
The senior-most district official said no one had been arrested so far as investigations continue.
Experts say belief in witchcraft and the occult remains widespread in impoverished rural communities across India, especially in isolated tribal communities.
In the past, women have often been branded witches and targeted by locals. Some believe in the occult, or have other motives including usurping their rights over land and property.
More than 2,000 people — many of them women — were killed in India on suspicion of witchcraft between 2000 and 2012, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
Some states, including Jharkhand, have introduced special laws to try to curb crimes against people accused of witchcraft and superstition.
Al-Qaeda Confirms Death Of AQAP Leader Qasim Al-Raymi
Al-Qaeda has confirmed the death of Qasim al-Raymi, the leader of Islamist group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Site Intelligence Group reported on Sunday.
US President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that the United States had killed al-Raymi in a counterterrorism operation in Yemen.
The United States regards AQAP as one of the deadliest branches of the al Qaeda network founded by Osama bin Laden.
JUST IN: Israel Confirms Its First Case Of Coronavirus
The virus was confirmed in a citizen who flew home from Japan earlier this week after being quarantined on the stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess.
“One of the passengers who returned home from the cruise ship in Japan tested positive in a checkup by the health ministry’s central laboratory,” a ministry statement said.
The statement added that the other dozen Israeli passengers who had flown home had all tested negative.
BREAKING: Two Test Positive For Coronavirus In Iran
Two people in Iran tested positive Wednesday for the deadly new coronavirus, the health ministry said in the Islamic republic’s first cases of the disease.
Kianoush Jahanpour, a ministry spokesman, said the cases were detected in the holy city of Qom, south of the Iranian capital.
“In the past two days, some suspect cases of the new coronavirus were observed in Qom city,” he said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.
“Teams were dispatched after receiving the reports, and based on the existing protocols the suspect cases were isolated and tested,” said Jahanpour.
“Out of the samples sent, a laboratory tested two of them as positive for coronavirus just minutes ago and some of the other samples were type B influenza.”
The health ministry spokesman said additional tests were being done on the two cases and final results would be announced “as soon as possible”.
The new coronavirus epidemic has killed more than 2,000 people in China and infected more than 74,000. It has spread to at least two dozen countries.
The United Arab Emirates was the first country in the Middle East to report cases of coronavirus last month.