rajasthan woman
A 40-year-old widow in India's Rajasthan state was allegedly branded a "witch" by her relatives who forced her to eat faeces and tortured her leading to her death - Representational imageReuters

In a horrifying incident in India's Rajasthan state, a 40-year-old widow was branded a "witch" and brutally killed by her own relatives, police said on Sunday (13 August).

The victim was reportedly forced to eat faeces, tortured with burning coal and then beaten to death in Kekri village in Ajmer district on 3 August. There were also reports that the relatives had pierced her eyes with a hot rod.

"Kanya Devi Raigar was branded a witch and severely tortured before being beaten to death, she was also made to eat faeces by her relatives," Rajendra Singh, Superintendent of Police of Ajmer, told the Press Trust of India (PTI).

Police have arrested five people in connection with the brutal killing. The suspects were charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, including murder, as well as under provisions of the Rajasthan Prevention of Witch-Hunting Act, 2015.

Singh said they could not perform a post-mortem on Raigar's body because the accused had cremated the body soon after her death. He added that it was now proving difficult to ascertain the claims regarding her death.

"Thorough interrogation of the accused will reveal what transpired that day," he told PTI.

The police were first alerted about the incident by a distant relative of the victim on 10 August.

However, the police could not file a formal complaint as the person was not directly linked to the family.

The woman's daughter later approached the police and filed a complaint. The victim's husband had died a month ago and she was living with her daughter and son, the police said.