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 on 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.