Four members of a family were tortured and forced to eat human excreta after being accused of witchcraft in Jharkhand’s Dumka district, ANI reported on Tuesday.

The incident occurred in the Aswari village in the jurisdiction of the Saraiyahat police station on September 25. Police inspector Naval Kishor Singh said that the four persons were tortured by a group of villagers with a hot iron rod.

The police have arrested six persons from the same village in the case. They have been booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code about attempted murder, house trespass, wrongful restraint, voluntarily causing hurt and causing grievous hurt, as well as sections of the Prevention of Witchcraft Act, The Indian Express reported.

The first information report was filed based on a complaint filed by one of the family members.

The woman said that she and her husband were thrashed and abused on September 24, and were called dayans, or witches. She told the police that the attackers ran away on that day.

“However, they came to my home again on September 25 at 11 pm,” the complainant said. “This time, they beat up two of my relatives along with my husband and me. We were made to eat human excreta and our bodies were burnt with hot iron rods.”

The four persons were initially admitted to the Saraiyahat community health centre and were later shifted to a hospital in the Deoghar district.

Cases of torture on the suspicion of witchcraft have frequently been reported from Jharkhand in recent years. From 2001 to 2020, a total of 590 persons, mostly women, were killed over such suspicions, according to PTI.