A 12-year-old Indian boy was stripped, hanged upside-down and beaten to death in front of his parents after he admitted stealing a packet of biscuits at a hurriedly convened village court.
Chhotu Kumar was one of two youngsters accused of stealing from a shop in Thadi village in eastern Bihar’s Purnia district.
They were brought before a panel of ‘judges’ who ordered handed down their punishment after they reportedly confessed to the crime.
According to local news reports, their parents begged the court to forgive them when their children’s condition had deteriorated.
But the court refused to stop unless they paid a fine of 10,000 Rupees (£100) immediately which the parents said they were unable to do for two days because they were so poor.
As a result, the beating continued and Chhotu succumbed to his injuries.
The other boy, 13-year-old Pintu Kumar, survived but sustained severe injuries.
Police have launched an investigation against eight villagers and are planning a series of raids to arrest the suspects.
Local district superintendent of police Ajit Kumar Satyarthi said: “The incident is quite serious as the villagers have taken law into their hands. We are not going to spare any of them.”
He said the children had also taken some chewing gum and petty cash.