Eyewitnesses said that Pandu Nagesiya began his killing spree in Behratoli around 1.30 p.m on Thursday. At that time, most of the men in the village were away at a mine where they toil daily.
Even as their female relatives and children assembled at a house in the afternoon, the accused suddenly went on a rampage. His 25-year-old neighbour and her child aged just two were first hacked to death. Then Nagesiya attacked four other young girls, all below the age of nine, with an axe before murdering three aged women.
The Press Trust of India quoted Superintendent of Police Govardhan Singh Darro as saying that "The reason which prompted Nagesiya to attack the villagers was being ascertained".
According to the SP, Nagesia "seems to be mentally disturbed after his wife deserted him". The accused was arrested on Thursday evening. Police have seized his axe.
The district administration has announced that families of the deceased will be given compensation. Balrampur Collector CR Prasanna told newspersons that each family is to get Rs 25,000.