Maoist material may have planted at murder site to mislead probe: police

Anti-displacement activist and Catholic nun Valsa John (52), who was hacked to death on Wednesday, was laid to rest on the Dumka Cathedral premises in Jharkhand on Thursday.

According to police, around 50 people, carrying arms, surrounded the house at Bachuwari village of Pakur district, where Sister John was staying, and hacked her to death.

Members of the nun's family, including her eldest brother Baby Malamel and two of her nephews from Kochi, were among those who attended the funeral. The family members, who met the Director-General of Police of Jharkhand, were told that Maoist materials were recovered from the murder site. However, the police felt Maoists might not be involved in the murder and that the material might have been planted there to mislead the investigation. Suspicion still rests on the coal mining business with which the nun has had a running battle.

The former Deputy Chief Minister, Stephen Marandi, said: “Sister Valsa had informed me that she was getting threatening messages from the company. I have appealed to the State government to investigate the matter.”

“Only after a detailed investigation can we provide the clear picture,” said Superintendent of Police, Pakur, Amarnath Khanna.

Hundreds of people, including a large number of students and her former colleagues, attended a memorial meeting held at St. George's Forane Church, Edappally, near Kochi.

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