Bharat Nat (48) and his wife Mamta (45) were attacked with an axe by Ashok Misra when they refused to give him Rs 15 in Kurra area in Lakhmipur village early on Thursday morning.

The incident occurred when the couple was going for paddy transplantation. Superintendent of Police Deo Ranjan Verma and District Magistrate P C Gupta have rushed to the spot with reinforcements in view of the tension in the village.

Police said the accused Ashok, who had a grocery store in Mainpuri, has been arrested. He was demanding the money to buy some intoxicant and an argument over the matter led to the gruesome killing of the couple.

Meanwhile, the bodies of the couple have been sent for postmortem examination. The Nats are a nomadic community and eked out a living by providing entertainment by the roadside. Many of the poor, landless Nats have abandoned their traditional occupation of rope dancing and jugglery and are mainly engaged as unskilled agricultural labourers.

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