Ranchi: Five women were beaten to death on the outskirts of Ranchi on Saturday for allegedly practicing witchcraft, Jharkhand Police said.
The incident took place at Mandar, around 40 km from here.
Over 20 people, including college students, were detained for interrogation, a police officer said.
"Five women were beaten to death with sticks and rods by villagers, mostly youth. The women were picked up from their houses on Friday night. The villagers alleged that they were involved in practicing black magic," the officer told IANS.
According to police sources, some of the detained youths admitted to the crime.
Villagers said four children have died in the last six month due to prolonged illness in Mandar.
The families of the children and villagers suspected foul play by these women.
The villagers held a meeting and decided to teach a lesson to the women.
On Friday, more than 30 people dragged the women from their houses and started beating them up.
The bodies of the women, who were from different families, have been sent for post-mortem.
According to official statistics, more than 750 women have been killed over the years in Jharkhand after being branded as witches.
Chief Minister Raghubar Das condemned the incident.