The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tea workers assault leader

Guwahati, Feb. 11: Labourers of the Assam Company-owned Doomur Dullung tea estate in Sivasagar district today assaulted the Moran unit secretary of the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) and ransacked the office.

The secretary, Lokeswar Tanti, was taken to Assam Medical College Hospital in a serious condition.

Several labourers were also injured after police resorted to caning to disperse the mob.

An officer at Moranhat police station said nearly 200 labourers, mostly women, came to the union’s Moran office around noon and demanded that steps be taken to reopen the tea estate and remove ACMS garden unit president Election Tanti for allegedly cheating them.

The labourers had also assaulted the garden’s executives on January 25, demanding his removal. When the tension continued, the company withdrew its officials and declared a lockout on January 28.

The officer said the labourers got agitated today and started ransacking the union’s Moran office.

On getting information about the unrest, a police team from the Sepon outpost rushed to the union office and asked the labourers to leave immediately. However, they neither moved nor allowed the police to take the secretary to hospital despite several appeals by Sepon outpost in-charge Debojit Das.

“(Lokeswar) Tanti was in a serious condition and we had to rush him to the hospital. The labourers were not allowing us to do so. We had no option but to resort to a lathicharge,” a police officer said.

He was shifted to AMCH after being given first aid at a Moran hospital.

Sources said Election Tanti had evoked the ire of the labourers by allegedly asking the management to deduct Rs 10 from each worker’s salary for erecting a fence on the garden boundary without taking their permission.

The management did deduct the money, but the fencing never came up.

It later returned the money to the labourers, but Tanti continued to be the target for having “cheated” them.

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