Police in India say they have arrested a shopkeeper for axing to death a couple from a lower caste for not promptly paying a meager debt of 15 rupees (22 cents) for groceries.

District Magistrate Pramod Chandra Gupta says the upper caste shopkeeper killed the couple Thursday in a rage when they asked for more time to pay for the groceries they bought from his shop in Mainpuri, a town in Uttar Pradesh state.

The deceased were construction workers and left behind five children, Gupta said Friday.

Attacks against Muslims and Dalits have risen since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu-nationalist party came to power two years ago.

Four low-caste Dalit community men were beaten by Hindu hardliners while trying to skin a dead cow in western India earlier this week.