From the Times of India:
Four persons were arrested on Monday for allegedly stripping and thrashing five women. Apparently, the latter had been practising witchcraft that resulted in villagers falling on hard times. The incident occurred at Patharghatia village under Paljori police station in Deoghar district on Sunday.
Superintendent of police Praveen Kumar Srivastava said raids were on to arrest seven others, who were instrumental in instigating the villagers against the five, all members of a minority community. Those who have been named in the FIR included Khutena Bibi, Rahmat Mian, Sakina Bibi, Budhu Mian and seven others.
Reports said the bizarre incident took place after a local mullah held five women responsible for all the odds that the villagers had been up against for a while because of the spell of black magic allegedly cast by the quintet.
Cases have been loodged against the villagers, especially the 11 accused in the case, at Palajori PS the same day the culprits dragged out the five women from their houses and thrashed them while hundreds of villagers, including women, remained mute spectators throughout the incident. The cruelty of the accused persons, comprising women hailing from the same community, could be gauged from the fact that all the victims were stripped in public and paraded for hours while they kept on pleading their innocence.
The role of the police in this connection has also come under the scanner as they did not turn up on time to prevent the stripping of the five women and the inhuman treatment meted out to them. For, by the time they reached the village, the accused had fled.
Reports said the family members of the victims were also threatened with dire consequences when they made a feeble attempt to rescue the women from the clutches of their tormentors.
Tension, meanwhile, prevailed in the village and its adjoining locality following the incident.