Berhampur: A group of people pulled out teeth of six elderly persons and forced them to consume human excreta at a village in Odisha's Ganjam district suspecting them of practising witchcraft, police said on Wednesday.
A group of people of Goparpur village suspected that the six elderly men practised witchcraft which caused the death of at least three women and sickness of seven others in the locality, police said.
They forcibly dragged the six men from their houses on Tuesday night and forced them to consume the human excreta before pulling out their teeth, the police said adding that the pleas of the six men for help failed to evoke any response from other villagers.
However, as the information reached the district headquarters, the Superintendent of Police, Brijesh Rai along with a police team rushed to the village and rescued the injured persons.
The police have arrested 29 people including 22 women in this connection, the SP said.
The injured elderly persons, all over 60-years of age, were rescued by police and admitted at the hospital. Their condition is stated to be stable.
Rai said more persons allegedly involved in the incident would be arrested. "We have the names of other accused persons and they will be nabbed soon", he said.
Fearing arrest, almost all the male persons have fled from the village, said inspector in charge, Khallikote police station Satya Narayan Pradhan.
Though there was no tension in the village, the police were keeping a strict vigil on the situation. Patrolling was intensified in the area to nab other accused persons, he said.