An Indian couple was killed over a 22-cent debt.
On July 28 in the Mainpuri district of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, grocery store owner Ashok Mishra decided to settle the debt a lower-caste Dalit couple had with him by beheading husband Bharat and hacking to death wife Mamta with an ax, CNN reports.
The couple owed Mishra 22 cents and had told him they were unable to pay back the money, which led to an argument, authorities said.
The debt was reportedly incurred when the couple purchased three packages of cookies for their three children a few days before the attack, according to BBC News.
Eyewitnesses said the couple did tell Mishra they would pay him back once they received their wages as laborers at the end of the day.
The couple went to work in the fields around 6 a.m., and Mishra went home to grab an ax. He then attacked the couple.
"While Mishra kept shouting for the money, the couple started walking towards the fields. Mishra then ran to his house nearby and returned with an ax. He hacked Bharat repeatedly and then attacked Mamta who was trying to rescue her husband. The couple died on the spot," Nadeem, a local villager, said.
“It is not clear yet if the shopkeeper had some previous vengeance against the couple,” local police official Digambar Kushwaha said, according to CNN.
Police arrested Mishra and his wife. An investigation into the murders is ongoing.
"The attacker has confessed his crime to the police. The role of shopkeeper's wife in this incident is not clear yet,” Kushwaha said. “We are investigating. We are also probing some eyewitnesses to find out why no one tried to stop the shopkeeper.”
Mishra told police the couple had verbally abused him.
The incident has caused the Dalit community to block roads and protest.