Tea garden owner, wife burnt alive in Assam
The owner of
a tea estate and his wife were burnt alive Wednesday by a group of
agitated labourers in Assam, police said.
The incident occurred in the evening at the M.K.B Tea Estate in
Tinsukia district, about 500 km from Assam's »
The law and order situation was under control even as tension
gripped the MKB tea estate in Bordumsa of Assam's Tinsukia
district Thursday, a day after a group of agitated labourers burnt
alive the estate's owner and his wife, police said.
Tinsukia Superintendent of Police P.P. Singh said the labourers
continued their protest till late Wednesday night but a large
number of security personnel were deployed in the tea estate to
stop further escalation of violence.
"We recovered two lumps of flesh from the charred bungalow. We
suspect them to be of the owner and his wife. However, we are
awaiting the arrival of the victims' son from Kolkata for an
official confirmation," Tinsukia Superintendent of Police P.P.
Singh told IANS Thursday.
About 1,000 labourers Wednesday evening allegedly set afire MKB
tea estate owner Mridul Kumar Bhattacharya (75) after locking him
and his wife Rita inside their bungalow. The labourers were
protesting against the arrest of two colleagues by the police.
"We have started the investigation but no one has been arrested so
far," said Singh, adding that action would be taken after the
post-mortem report is made available to the police.
According to a local tea community leader, two labourers were
arrested by police earlier when they refused to vacate their tea
estate quarters despite eviction notices by the management.
"Some workers met Bhattacharya Wednesday morning and requested him
to get the arrested labourers released. He, however, did not pay
any heed to the request and threatened the workers of dire
consequences. This angered the labourers and they took the extreme
step," he said.
Bhattacharya, who also owned the Rani Organic Tea Estate, some
eight km from here, was booked for the murder of a 15-year-old
youth in 2010. He was later released on bail in the murder case.
The 2010 incident took place when a group of villagers staged a
protest in front of his house after he raised objections against
the use of a road inside the Rani estate by the locals and
harassed a woman. Bhattacharya opened fire at the protesters, in
which the boy sustained bullet injuries and died.
Bhattacharya, a mechanical engineer by training, was from Tezpur.
He had worked for many tea estates in Assam before winning a
contract worth several crores of rupees for drilling and laying of
pipelines in the state in the 1980s.
Later, he bought two tea estates - one at Bordumsa in Tinsukia and
the other at Rani in Kamrup district.
An official said that both the estates were making profit till a
few years back. The Bhattacharyas, however, received a setback
after the incident at the Rani tea estate two years ago, he said.