Teacher, toddler burn to death

A young para-teacher and her four-year-old daughter were found charred to death at their Upar Ghat residence, 55km from Bokaro steel city, on Thursday morning.

While in-laws claim that Shobha Devi (29) set her child Baby Kumari and herself on fire upset over tiffs with her husband, police are yet to confirm suicide. The authenticity of a bizarre suicide note ' scribbled on the dressing table mirror with a lipstick and speaking of frustration at work and alienation by husband ' is yet to be ascertained.

The bodies have been sent to Chas hospital for post-mortem.

Sources in the Upar Ghat neighbourhood of Nawadih block said Shobha Devi taught in a school barely 2km from home, while her husband Arjun Prasad (34) runs a private school in Vishnugarh (Hazaribagh), some 25km away. They were married for nine years.

According to father-in-law R.K. Prasad, a former CCL employee, Shobha frequently had tiffs with her husband, who stayed in Vishnugarh and visited his joint family of eight members in Upar Ghat on weekends. She apparently complained to him of having to do a tedious job, manage domestic chores and raise their child all alone.

"Last (Wednesday) night too she vented her frustrations during dinner with us. She blamed my son for not giving her a moment of happiness or praising her for all that she was doing for him. She was very upset with life in all, but we had no idea what she had in mind," Prasad said.

Shobha retired to her room with Baby after dinner. Early in the morning, she poured kerosene on Baby and herself and carried out a horrible act of suicide, the family told police. They also said that when flames engulfed her, Shobha cried for help, but by the time the locked door to her room was broken open, the mother-daughter duo were "lifeless".

Bokaro SP Kuldip Dwivedi said they had registered an unnatural death case, but could confirm suicide only after through investigations.

"We will cross-check every information provided to us about the deaths. The suicide note and its content are being verified. The local thana officer-in-charge has been asked to record statements of all persons who were present in the house. The husband is also being interrogated," the SP added.

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