India: Two held for killing children for 'defecating in the open'

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Two men in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have been arrested for allegedly killing two Dalit (formerly untouchables) children who were defecating in the open, police say.

"The two children were beaten to death with sticks," police superintendent Rajesh Chandel told. "We have registered a murder case against both the accused. They are being questioned."

Within hours of the attack early on Wednesday morning, police arrested two upper-caste men - Rameshwar Yadav and Hakim Yadav.

Roshni, 12, and Avinash, 10, were attacked on Wednesday while defecating near a village road, they said.

The children's family told that they have no toilet at home.

Millions of poor Indians defecate in the open, which especially puts women and children at risk.

Dalits are at the bottom of the Hindu caste system and despite laws to protect them, they still face widespread discrimination in India.

Roshni and Avinash were cousins, but Roshni had been brought up by Avinash's parents and lived with them.

Avinash's father, Manoj, says that as a daily wage labourer, he cannot afford to build a toilet at his house. He also says he has been unable to access a government subsidy as part of a flagship scheme to build toilets for the poor.

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