A 7-year-old boy was allegedly killed by his mother and two aunts, who believed the child was possessed by an "evil spirit" after he started suffering from seizures frequently.

The incident took place in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The women had reportedly killed the boy during an attempt to exorcise the "evil spirit," The Indian Express reported.

Early Sunday morning, the child was being taken to a sorcerer by his mother and her sisters, when the driver of the vehicle they were travelling in dropped them off midway. The women then took the boy to the town's administrative office, which was in the area.

The boy started having seizures again, following which the women began to thrash him to ward off the "evil spirit," The Indian Express reported. One of the women even trampled upon the child's neck before he died, the police said Tuesday.

Hearing the boy's screams, people from the surrounding areas reached the office and informed the police. Deputies arrived at the scene and arrested the three women identified as mother K Thilakavathi (30), and sisters K Bakiyalakshmi (29) and K Kavitha (28). According to The Indian Express, the victim lived with the three women in the city of Vellore. The boy’s father died two years ago.

The police then sent the child's body to Government Vellore Medical College Hospital for autopsy.

"We suspect that the three women are mentally unstable. There are a few unexplained deaths in their family, including that of their mother three days ago... There are frequent deaths in their family in the last two year. We have arrested the three women and commenced a detailed investigation," a police officer, identified as C Vijayakumar, told The Times of India.

Several people in India still believe in occultist practices and evil spirits, especially in rural areas. According to the country's National Crime Records Bureau, 156 people were killed due to witchcraft in 2014, 135 in 2015 and 134 in 2016, India Today reported.

Last month, a 50-year-old man was beaten to death by a group of villagers who suspected him of being a witch. The incident took place in the eastern state of Assam. According to reports, the villagers had branded the tribal man a witch and attacked him. When the police arrived at the scene, the villagers also allegedly attacked them. The police later detained five people in connection with the case.

Crime scene police line | Representational Image
Crime scene police line | Representational Image GETTY IMAGES / SCOTT OLSON