The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bloodspill in tea garden

Tezpur, May 31: One person was killed in police firing at Sapoi tea estate in Sonitpur district today following an attempt to arrest those involved in the murder of two of the garden’s senior managers.

A group of irate garden workers and people from outside yesterday lynched deputy manager Anthony Unger and assistant manager S.K. Singh and later set their bodies on fire.

Tension had been simmering in the tea estate since last evening. The situation worsened today after a mob attacked circle inspector of Dhekiajili police station when the police tried to arrest those involved in yesterday’s murder.

An official report said trouble erupted yesterday when the police arrested nine youths who tried to stop the administration’s crackdown on pilferage of power in the garden area.

Angry with the management for engaging the police, a group of garden workers armed with sharp weapons, bows and arrows attacked the deputy manager and the assistant manager. The two were dragged out and hacked to death. Unger’s wife was also heckled. Singh’s family was out of station.

Garden manager S.C. Gupta was on leave but he rushed back to the garden late last evening. Sapoi tea estate belongs to the Calcutta-based Kanoi group.

The police opened fire this morning after the workers turned violent. Official sources said workers attacked Dhekiajuli circle inspector Dolan Tamuli, injuring him on his head when he tried to enter the garden area.

The firing was ordered after a lathicharge failed to quell the mob. A 35-year-old person, who was taken to Kanaklata civil hospital in Tezpur with a bullet injury in his head, died there. He is yet to be identified.

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