A nine-month-old baby boy and his toddler sister from India’s lowest caste Dalits were burnt alive in their homes in an arson attack in Faridabad, Haryana state, 40 km (25 miles) south of New Delhi on Tuesday.
Jitender, the father, said that it was a feud attack, resulting from past fights between them and Rajputs, a higher caste in India. Rajputs "barged into our home when we were sleeping and they poured petrol from the window after locking our door from the outside,” he told the Indian Express.
Both of the children lost their lives at the scene, and the mother is hospitalised under critical condition. The father has permanent burns on his hand, although his life is not in danger anymore.
Subhash Yadav, Faridabad's police commissioner, said it appears to be a feud attack between Dalit and Rajput families, which claimed three lives a year ago.
"We are trying to maintain calm," he told, adding that officers are still trying to confirm whether it was a revenge attack.
Vishnu Dayal who is leading the investigation told that they arrested three people over the attack, but have not released details didn’t give detail of the suspects’ role in the incident.
Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana state, announced that the family will be given financial aid, according to AA.
India’s Interior Minister Rajnath Singh asked Khattar to take precautions to avoid similar incidents in the future.
The Ballabhgarh region of Faridabad, where the arson attack took place, is known for violent incidents between Dalits and Rajputs. One person was dead and 12 were injured in a conflict between the two castes in June.
Dalits, or “untouchables” with their former names, are the lowest caste in India. Although the caste system is banned under law, Dalits frequently face violence and prejudice. Investigations of crimes against Dalits also can be labeled as low priority by the police.