A Dalit couple was hacked to death in Lakhmipur village of Uttar Pradesh's Mainpuri district on Thursday allgedely by a shopkeeper after they failed to clear a paltry debt of Rs 15 for a packet of biscuits.
Bharat Nat (48) and his wife Mamta (45) were attacked with an axe by Ashok Misra when they refused to give him Rs 15 in Kurra area in Lakhmipur village early this morning.
The couple allegedly owed him Rs. 15 for biscuits they had recently taken from the shop.
According to reports, Mishra confronted them when they were on their way to work at around 6 am today.
When they begged for more time to pay, he flew into a rage.
Mishra allegedly picked up an axe lying nearby and attacked the couple. Both died on the spot.
The shopkeeper panicked and hid in the village until a police team, alerted by villagers, found him.
Confirming the incident, Mainpuri District Magistrate Pramod Gupta said, "Bharat and Mamta, who were labourer, died on the spot after the accused, Ashok Mishra, attacked them with an axe. According to villagers, the matter was concerning Rs. 15 that led to a argument and resulted in the killings. The accused has been arrested and stringent action will be taken against him."
Superintendent of Police Deo Ranjan Verma and District Magistrate P C Gupta have rushed to the spot with reinforcements in view of the tension in the village.
Police said the accused Ashok, who had a grocery store in Mainpuri, has been arrested.
He was demanding the money to buy some intoxicant and an argument over the matter led to the gruesome killing of the couple.
Meanwhile, the bodies of the couple have been sent for postmortem examination.
The Nats are a nomadic community and eked out a living by providing entertainment by the roadside. Many of the poor, landless Nats have abandoned their traditional occupation of rope dancing and jugglery and are mainly engaged as unskilled agricultural labourers.
The incident comes against the backdrop of a series of attacks on lower caste people across the country and could spark a political backlash against the ruling SP in the poll-bound state where Dalits form a sizeable portion of the electorate.