Jorhat, Sept. 1: At least four employees of Deopani tea estate, including an executive, were injured when labourers attacked them this morning for allegedly trying to stop a group of workers of the estate from going to work in another garden.
Several labourers also received minor injuries when police, who arrived at the tea garden later, resorted to a lathicharge.
Labourers of the tea estate, located under Bokajan sub-division in Karbi Anglong district, were on an indefinite strike from August 18, for non-fulfilment of various demands. The management had also subsequently declared a garden lockout on August 22.
The president of the Bokajan unit of the Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association, Boloram Sahu, said the labourers of the estate have been deprived of the basic amenities and, therefore, the labour force has launched the indefinite strike.
“There is no drinking water, no medical facility, no electricity, irregular ration and no quarters. The condition in which the labourers have to live is pathetic,” Sahu said.
He said despite repeated requests from the labour force to the management to provide the basic necessities, there has been no response. “There has been no response from the management whatsoever despite a four-day strike by the labourers from July 4. This had forced the labourers to launch an indefinite strike from August 18,” Tanti said.
He said this morning, four employees of the tea estate, led by an executive, tried to stop a group of labourers who were on their way to work in another garden.
“The labourers had no option but to work in another garden to eke out a living. They got angry when the management tried to stop them and had a scuffle with them,” Tanti said.
On receiving information, a police party arrived at the tea garden and resorted to mild lathicharge to pacify the crowd.
“Several labourers, including a few women were injured,” Tanti said.
An official of the district administration, who visited the tea estate, said normalcy has been restored after the arrival of the police party.
“As a precautionary measure, we have deputed a police picket at the tea estate,” he said.
The official said the allegations by the labourers, regarding the lack of basic amenities, were being looked upon by the labour commissioner’s office. “We are also in touch with the garden management in this regard,” he said.