Patna: A 55-year-old Muslim woman was killed by her neighbours in Bihar's Khagaria district, for allegedly practising witchcraft, police said Friday.
Hasina Khatoon, a resident of Goriya Bathan village, was fatally beaten by a spade on her head and face.
"She died on the spot after some villagers attacked her with a spade early today (Friday)," Gogri police station in-charge Durgesh Ram said.
He said that a case was lodged against seven people on the statement of the victim's husband Mohd. Azeem.
"Azeem said that the people accused suddenly attacked his wife when she was stitching infront of her house," he said.
Azeem also said that the same people had beaten her and fractured her leg in full public view last year, alleging that she practised witchcraft.
Police have sent her body for post-mortem.
"Police have began investigation into the case and we will arrest all the accused soon," police official Santosh Kumar said.
The practice of branding women as witches and torturing them continues unabated in remote rural areas of Bihar. A month ago, a woman in Sitamarhi district of the state was forced to eat human excreta after she was branded a witch.
In the last one year, more than 250 women have been tortured and beaten on suspicion of practising witchcraft, police records say.
A couple of years ago, the Bihar Human Rights Commission (BHRC) directed the state government to expedite probes and trials of cases related to offences under the Prevention of Witch Hunting Act, 1999.