Shimla: It’s a sad reality that superstition is driving villagers in India to brand women as witches and despite laws, witch-hunts still remain common in many Indian states.

In one such recent instance, an old woman was branded as a witch and beaten up in Bagmundi area of West Bengal’s Purulia district.

The incident happened on Monday night, when neighbours of the woman entered her house by force and and beat her up. The woman’s daughter and daughter-in-law came forward to save her, but they were also injured in the process.

After the beating, the condition of the old woman is said to be grave. Meanwhile, all the three have been hospitalised.

“My mother-in-law was branded a witch and beaten up. When I went to rescue her, they beat me up also,” said her daughter-in-law.

It has also been reported that such an attack has happened on previous occasions too.

However, a panchayat functionary said the attack was not related to any superstitious belief, but was the fallout of an old dispute over land. The Baghmundi police station is looking into the case.