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Workers ransack tea garden office

Jorhat, Feb. 27: A group of labourers today ransacked the garden office and damaged possessions at the bungalow of the owner, Bikash Chokhani, at Ghograjan tea estate under Lahowal police station, nearly 15km from Dibrugarh town.

Chokhani and his family members were not present at the time of the incident.

Police arrived at the garden and brought the situation under control. A police party has been deployed in the garden, where the labourers stayed away from work today.

The district administration has called a meeting tomorrow at the deputy commissioner’s office chamber between representatives of the management, Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association, labour department and police officials to resolve the matter.

Dibrugarh additional deputy commissioner Jogesh Baruah told The Telegraph over phone this evening that the meeting would be held to restore normality and allow work to resume in the estate.

Police sources said the workers of the garden, which is a member of the Assam Tea Planters’ Association, were enraged after they came to know that a tractor driver of the estate, Jiban Kamar, was admitted to the garden hospital following a physical assault by Chokhani last night.

Sources said the workers, alleging lack of proper treatment at the garden hospital, got Kamar shifted to the Assam Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh, by the garden authorities.

His condition is said to be stable.

Searching for the owner, the mob partially ransacked the estate office and then entered Chokhani’s bungalow and damaged flower tubs and some chairs outside the house.

The president of the Assam Tea Tribes Students Association, Dibrugarh district unit, Lazar Nanda, termed the incident unfortunate and said the trouble was the outcome of “strong-arm tactics” used on the workers by the proprietor.

Attempts to contact Chokhani and the garden manager, K. Gogoi, failed.

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