Indian protests after Dalit children burnt alive in caste attack

Enraged against the incident at Sunped village, youths blocked road demanding action against the accused, in Faridabad district on Tuesday. Image copyright Manoj Dhaka
Image caption Security was increased after local people blocked roads, demanding action against those behind the attack

Protesters have blocked a key highway in India to protest against the death of two children who were burnt alive in an arson attack near the capital Delhi.

A toddler and a nine-month old died after their home in Faridabad town was set on fire early on Tuesday, allegedly by upper-caste men.

Three people were arrested and police said they were looking for nine others.

The parents of the children were also injured and their mother is reported to be still in a critical condition.

Security has been tightened in the area after a rise in tensions over the incident.

On Tuesday, several young men blocked roads in Faridabad, demanding action against those behind the crime. Many more joined them on Wednesday, local television reported.

Image copyright Manoj Dhaka
Image caption The house was doused in petrol and set on fire at around 2am on Tuesday

The infant and his two-year-old sister were both asleep in their home in Faridabad district, about 25 miles (40km) outside Delhi, when the attackers doused the building with petrol and set it alight.

"We were sleeping when they poured petrol from the window. I smelled the petrol and tried to wake up my wife but by then the fire had started. My children died in the fire," the father, identified as Jitender, told the Press Trust of India news agency.

"They had threatened me that they will finish my family, that I should never return to the village," he added.

Image copyright Manoj Dhaka
Image caption The attack appeared to have been part of a long-running feud between the area's Dalit community and the higher Rajput caste
Image copyright Manoj Dhaka
Image caption Jitender, the father of the two children killed in the attack, said by the time he woke up it was too late to save his children

The chief minister and senior police officials have promised to bring the attackers to justice.

Faridabad police commissioner Subhash Yadav told the AFP that the attack appeared to have been part of a long-running feud between the area's Dalit community and the higher Rajput caste, which also claimed the lives of three people a year ago.

Dalits, formerly known as "untouchables", are at the bottom of the Hindu caste system in India. Although caste discrimination is illegal, biases remain in many areas.

Related Topics

More on this story