Two women were arrested on Friday for allegedly burning to death an 11-year-old girl over a petty matter of the theft of fruits from a farm, in Odhisha's Deogarh district.
Preliminary police investigation revealed the victim, Rinki Behera, and her two friends, the daughters of the accused Sulochana Sahoo, 45, and Malli Sahoo, 35, had walked into a farm in Balinali village, 450km northwest of Bhubaneswar, on Wednesday and picked some pomegranates.
The owner reprimanded Behera when he learnt about the trespass and the theft. The panicked girl revealed the names of her friends to the owner, who then called the accused and gave them a good scolding. Both the accused and the victim belong to the poorest section of the society in the village.
Enraged over the humiliation, the women went to Behera's home on Thursday when her mother was away and set her ablaze after pouring kerosene oil over her. Hearing her cries, villagers came for help and rushed her to a hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.
"On the basis of her dying declaration and eyewitness accounts, we arrested the women. They have confessed to the crime," Barkote inspector in charge of police AK Dungdung told HT.