Two Dalit men were allegedly tortured to death in Karnataka’s Peddanahalli village in the Tumakuru district, The Indian Express reported on Saturday.

The deceased have been identified as Girish Mudalagiriappa (30) and Girish (32). The alleged killings occurred on Thursday night and their bodies were discovered the next day in a pond.

The police suspect that more than six persons are involved in the case, adding that they have identified one of the key culprits as Nandish, The New Indian Express reported.

According to the police, Nandish had visited the victims’ house on Thursday night and took the men to a secluded place where he had his friends waiting for them.

The police said that the two men were beaten and their feet were set on fire using dry leaves. Mudalagiriappa died on the spot, according to The Indian Express. Meanwhile, Girish, who had attempted to escape, was bludgeoned to death.

“We are yet to ascertain the reason behind the attack as both the victims had cases of theft registered against them,” an unidentified police official said, according to The Indian Express. “We are ascertaining whether that [theft] was the reason behind their death.”

Superintendent of Police Rahulkumar Shahapurwad told The New Indian Express that all the accused persons will be arrested soon.

Several Dalit organisations in the Tumakuru district have demanded strict action against the accused.