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Teachers found dead

Ranchi, Dec. 14: The bodies of two schoolteachers, who were abducted from Gumla on Monday, were recovered this morning at Koriyam forest in Balumath police station area of neighbouring Latehar.

Latehar superintendent of police (SP) Kranti G. Kumar said local residents had spotted the dead bodies yesterday evening at the forest, 25km from the district headquarters and around 150km from Raikera village in Bharno police station area of Gumla, where the victims were abducted.

Jaglal Sahu, 40, the headmaster of the government upgraded middle school at Raikera, and para-teacher Satyendra Nath Tiwary, 35, were intercepted by a gang of kidnappers when the duo were returning home around 4pm.

Kumar said: “We came to know about two male bodies inside Koriyam forest yesterday evening. But we felt it was not safe to send policemen at night, as the area is a Maoist den. This morning, when the bodies were brought with the help of the chowkidar at Balumath police station, 20km from the place of recovery, they were identified as the teachers abducted from Gumla.”

Latehar police suspected the involvement of Maoists.

However, Gumla SP Jatin Narwal said, “Maoists have not committed the murder, but a criminal gang led by Badal Gope that is active in Lohardaga and Gumla. The gang extorts money. Gope was arrested but four months ago, but he has again become active after coming out of jail.”

A resident of Raikera said a new building was being built on the premises of the middle school. Sahu faced extortion threats earlier, he said, adding that the kidnappers demanded a ransom of Rs 25 lakh from the families of the victims.

A group of teachers staged a road blockade near Tower Chowk in Gumla from 3pm to 6.30pm to protest the murders.