In a gruesome incident, six elderly men were forced to consume human excreta and their teeth were pulled out by a group of villagers over suspicion of witchcraft in Odisha’s Ganjam district on Monday night.

At least 29 people including 22 women were arrested by the police on Thursday.

According to police, the incident happened in Berhampur area, where a mob suspecting six elderly men of performing witchcraft, dragged them out of their house and forced them to eat human excreta. The victims have been identified as Jogi Das, Sania Nahak, Jogendra Nahak, Rama Nahak, Hari Nahak and Juria Nahak. All have been admitted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur.

“Teeth of each victim were uprooted and they were forced to eat human excreta. The victims were all men in their late 50s and 60s,” Ganjam Superintendent of Police Brijesh Kumar Rai said.

We have increased the patrolling in the area to nab the remaining accused and avert any untoward actions, he added.

Police said that a meeting was convened in the village on Monday night during which the six victims were held responsible for the death of three women and illness of seven others. The villagers also suspected some sorcery practices by the six persons behind the ailments and deaths in the village in the past six months.