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Eight tribals burnt to death in Maharashtra

Solapur (Maharashtra), Feb 15 (IANS) Eight members of a tribal family were burnt to death in their sleep when their hut caught fire in Maharashtra’s Solapur district early Monday, prompting Home Minister R.R. Patil to rush there to take stock of the situation. Five people have been arrested in connection with the incident.

The incident, in which six minors were killed, is said to be the outcome of an old family feud, according to police inspector Harishchandra More of Madha police station.

The incident occurred in the Madha village, predominantly inhabited by Pardhi tribals, around 70 km from here, in Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s home district.

Patil, who was accompanied by Director General of Police A.N. Roy, will be apprised about the circumstances leading to the family feud, the shocking incident of burning the sleeping family members belonging to a single clan and the progress of investigations.

The home minister has announced compensation of Rs.1 lakh for the family of each of the deceased.

More said that the hut belonged to a farmer Suresh Chhatan Pawar and the deceased were his relatives.

The case of suspected arson took place around 1 a.m. Monday morning and the fire raged for about four hours.

‘According to a complaint lodged by Pawar, the fire was deliberate on account of some family feud. We are investigating the issue and have nabbed five persons in connection with the incident,’ More told IANS.

Despite frantic attempts by people from the neighbourhood, none of the victims could be saved from the blaze.

The victims were identified as – Manisha Sanjay Pawar, 26, Neeta Raju Pawar, 18, six-year-old Mangesh Sanjay Pawar, three-year-old Swati Sanjay Pawar, five-month-old Mahesh Sanjay Pawar, Raghu Suresh Pawar, 11, nine-year-old Chakula Suresh Pawar and eight-year-old Pirajit Ashok Pawar.

The five persons nabbed in connection with the incident were identified as Netaji Bahiru Kale, Jhumrabai Bahiru Kale, Jhabbad Bahiru Shinde, Chandu Lajya Pawar and Pandhariya B. Kale, More said.

Top district police officers including Superintendent of Police Suresh Mekla have rushed to the site to investigate the incident.

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