Eight members of a family from the Pardhi tribe were charred to death when they were asleep in a hut in Nimgaon village, 70 km from Solapur on Monday morning.
The dead include four children and two women. Police said the incident could be a fall out of previous enmity between two groups from the same community.
Five people — one of them is a woman — have been arrested, said Solapur’s Superintendent of Police, Suresh Mekla.
The incident occurred in Madha taluka, the constituency of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, at 1 am on Monday.
The hut, in which the victims were asleep, was set on fire.
It took more than four hours to bring the fire under control. The hut belonged to a farmer, Suresh Pawar, a relative of the victims.
Pawar lodged a complaint with the police alleging that a rival group was behind the incident.
Home Minister R.R. Patil, who visited the village after the incident, announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the families of the deceased. “All the accused will be arrested soon,” Patil said.
He also emphasised the need for the rehabilitation of the Pardhi community in Madha. The Pardhi (hunters) tribe is mostly found in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.