Dibrugarh, Jan. 9: An altercation between two families led to three deaths at Ethelwood tea estate under Borbari police outpost, about 5km from here.
Sanjib Bhakta, 35, and his wife Deepika, 30, were allegedly murdered by their neighbour Ajoy Mura, 30, with a dao (machete) at Jamuktoli, SN Lane of the tea estate around 8.30pm yesterday.
The gruesome act irked the villagers, who this morning vented their ire on Mura’s mother Laxmi, who they believe started the altercation between the two families, and allegedly beat her to death.
The couple are survived by four children — Uday, 10, Puja, 8, Rima, 6 and Sima, 5.
According to sources, Mura was under the influence of alcohol and fled the scene after committing the murder. Mura’s wife Shivani, 18, suspected to be an accomplice, fled her home late last night, leaving behind Laxmi in the house.
The sources said Laxmi, 70, is believed to have rebuked Uday yesterday. It is, however, not clear why Laxmi had scolded him.
“Later, after Bhakta went to ask his neighbour why Laxmi had scolded his son, there was a heated argument between him and Mura. This led to the attack on the couple,” a youth from the locality said.
The couple were declared “brought dead” by doctors, prompting a section of villagers to beat Laxmi to death.
According to Ashim Jyoti Buragohain, in-charge of Borbari police outpost, the irate villagers after failing to find Mura, hit Laxmi with bricks and planks of wood, which may have led to her death. However, he said the police are investigating into the circumstances that lead to Laxmi’s death. “An FIR has been lodged and a search party sent to track down the Muras at the earliest,” Buragohain said.
“In the morning, the angry villagers ransacked Mura’s house and after failing to find the couple, thrashed up Laxmi. The post-mortem results have not been received by the police yet,” he added.
However, according to some people (from nearby villages), the police could have saved the old lady from the wrath of the villagers but they did not reach the spot on time despite being alerted several times.
Arun Bagh, the city secretary of Assam Tea Tribes Students Association, said, “The murder was committed under the influence of alcohol.”
He also said the association with the help of the tea estate authorities for the past one year has tried to control the sale of illegal liquor, which is rampant in the area. But the sale of liquor is prevalent in some parts of the tea estate and it has ruined many families.
Bagh said the organisation condemned the murders.