Guwahati: There is a controversy surrounding the brutal killing of a tea garden owner and his wife in Tinsukhia in Assam. Family members of the nine arrested in the case have alleged that workers at the plantation were exploited and even physically abused.
Mridul Bhattacharjee, the owner of the Konapathar tea estate, and his wife were burnt to death on December 26, 2012. A group of over 200 people entered the bungalow area and they set fire to a vehicle.
A group of 30 surrounded the bungalow. They poured petrol and kerosene and set fire to it with the owner and his wife still inside. Police claim that there is a strong possibility that they might have been murdered before the mob moved in.
Till 2008, the total produce used to be exported abroad. However, robust profits did not get reflected in the labour lines. There are no proper latrines, no schools and no hospital for the almost 700 strong labour forces. The workers claim severe exploitation.
The labourers to insists that he was a feudal master and while they would speak of labour rights, he would pull out a gun and beat them. The management not amazingly completely dismissed these claims.