Police found on Saturday the bodies of a brother and sister who had gone missing in Gumla earlier this week, apparently killed by their abductors after pocketing a ransom of Rs. 300,000.
The dead, who were teachers in Gumla, were cousins of Dhanbad Superintendent of police Hemant Toppo.
On August 6, Prakash Toppo, headmaster of Bansari middle school, was abducted when he was returning to his Nawatoli residence in Gumla town after school. Her sister, Saroj Toppo, also a teacher in a government school in the same district went missing a day later. She was apparently on her way to secure her brother’s release by paying a ransom to the kidnappers.
Police recovered their bodies from Rukki Ghati forest, 10 km from the district headquarters. Their throats had been slit.
"So far there (there) is no trace or identity of abductors. We are investigating the case and hope to zero in on the gang responsible for (the) abduction and the killings very soon,” Gumla SP Bhim Sen Tuti said.
“We have got some leads but cannot share at this moment in the interest of investigation."
In recent times, criminals across the state have started targeting school headmasters who now are authorised to handle school development funds, which means they often have access to large amounts of cash. This has made them vulnerable to extortion by militant groups operating in the area.
Many headmasters are reluctant to take up this administrative responsibility, which also includes supervising construction work and making payments to contractors and suppliers.
To protest the murders, local units of the government employees’ federation and teachers’ association blocked NH 23 for several hours on Saturday. The teachers’ association has also threatened to stop going to schools in the district.