BULLETS SHATTER PEACE OF HERITAGE CLUB 

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By FROM PULLOCK DUTTA in Moran
  • Published 22.06.01
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Moran, June 22 :    Moran, June 22:  It would have been a usual "club day" at the Moran Polo Club in Upper Assam's Dibrugarh district - site of yesterday's carnage in which 12 surrendered Ulfa men fell to staccato bullets of their former comrades. Hemmed in by miles of greenery and tea shrubs, over 100-year-old club would have witnessed a fete by the afternoon. Tea planters from adjoining gardens were scheduled to trickle in by 2.30 pm for the "club day". Some would have made a dash for the swimming pool. Others would have taken to the tennis courts. But "unwanted visitors" -nearly 70 Sulfa men from the neighbouring Sivasagar district - stormed the club for a meeting. Their conversation was cut short by disaster. For a change, the heritage club came alive with the sound of bullets. Around 11.15 am, several armed men alighted from a blue Maruti Zen, which entered the club premises from the eastern side. They fired on five Sulfa members who were sitting on the railings of the club veranda. Three fell on the spot while two others managed to escape. The marauders then headed for the club room where about 20 Sulfa activists were preparing for the meeting scheduled for 11.30 am. The killers hurled a grenade and opened fire. Three Sulfa men died on the dance floor while others scrambled for cover. Two more were shot dead inside the ladies' room while two others fell inside the toilet. One of the Sulfa men tried to scale the roof but was killed when he stepped on a loose asbestos sheet and fell in front of the killers. Their job done, the killers left the way they came. On their way back, they fired several rounds at vehicles parked nearby. They left behind a macabre scene the British-era club has never witnessed. "I am at a loss for words to explain what happened. I have not seen something like this in my life. So much blood...there are no words...," a shaken J. Bezbaruah, president of the club said. Bezbaruah, also the manager of the nearby Moran tea estate, said the Sulfa men did not take permission from the club authorities to hold the meeting. "The club is a private property. We do not lend it other organisations. But they (Sulfa men) come at will. Who can stop them?" the tea executive asked. The Moran Polo Club is the property of the Moran tea estate, which celebrated 125 years three years ago.