Ranchi, July 17: A 45-year-old teacher of a private primary school was shot dead on the school premises last night at Tilma, about 20km from district headquarters under Khunti police station of Khunti district and around 35km from the capital city.
Samrai Pahan, who used to teach local children at the two-room Suryoday Nav Prathmik Vidyalaya, was attacked around 8.30pm when he was alone in the building.
He took six bullets on different parts of his body and died on the spot.
A local resident said those who killed Pahan also torched his bike before fleeing the spot.
Hinting at the involvement of Maoists behind the incident, another local resident said the well-respected teacher was associated with Shanti Sabha - a rural vigilante group - and played a key role in rebel surrenders and weaning away youths from extremism.
"The teacher was an active member of Shanti Sabha in the district. After villagers reached the spot, they noticed some words on the blackboard in Hindi reading 'shanti sabha sargana ko jan adalat laga kar maut ki saja den' (award death sentence to the chief of Shanti Sabha after organising a Jan Adalat). This suggests that the killers must have some link with the Maoists who use such words to justify killings," the resident said on the condition of anonymity.
Khunti SDPO Ranvijay Singh confirmed the incident saying they were yet to identify the persons involved in the murder and the reason behind it.
"There are no eyewitnesses to the incident. The teacher used to live about 800m away from the school. His brother rushed to the spot after hearing gunshots, but the killers had already left the place by then," Singh said.
Khunti SP Ashwini Kumar Sinha didn't rule out the involvement of Maoist rebels. "Cartridges of Insas rifle were recovered from the spot. Maoists usually use such weapons," he said.
Sinha, however, didn't comment on the deceased's association with Shanti Sabha. "I cannot say whether he was associated with Shanti Sabha or not," he said.