Murder in a tea garden
- Parliament LIVE: Jaitley has promised concrete proposals on GST, says Chidambaram
- Kashmir violence -- Omar Abdullah interview: 'It has been building up to this'
- Baton Rouge shootings: Three officers killed, suspect dead
- Grading writers, artistes is new brainwave of Culture Ministry
- Reforms not because of Cong, in spite of it... credit goes to Rao-Singh: Arun Jaitley
Fear and uncertainty loom over the Konapathar tea estate in Assam where the owner and his wife were recently hacked to death, writes Samudra Gupta Kashyap
A December day in the tea estates of upper Assam is usually foggy and December 26 was no exception. For Mridul Kumar Bhattacharjee, a tea planter, and his wife, it was going to be a turbulent day. Two labourers, Suraj Mura and Ajit Mura, who were dismissed from work about six months ago on charges of theft, were arrested by the police around 11 a.m. Bhattacharjee was expecting some trouble over the arrests but probably nothing had prepared him for what came next.
Bhattacharjee, who was based in Guwahati, had come to Konapathar, his 900-acre tea estate located on the Assam-Arunachal border, 90 km south-east of Tinsukia, just a week ago. "He had come here the previous Saturday (December 22) to take stock of the estate," says Mansit Bagh, president of the Konapathar unit of the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS), the apex body of tea labourers in Assam.
Bagh was working at the compost site when he heard loud shouts coming from the director's bungalow around 2.30 p.m. "When I reached there, a large crowd had already gathered and they were stoning the bungalow which was on fire. I knew our director and his wife were inside. Some of us tried to stop the crowd, but we failed," says Bagh.
Around the same time, Priyanka, wife of Bhattacharjee's eldest son, Autri, received a call from her mother-in-law, Reeta, at her Kolkata home. Priyanka called up her husband immediately. "As soon as my wife told me about the attack, I called up my mother. I could hear her shouting for help. I informed the Assam Police ADG Pallab Bhattacharyya in Guwahati," says Autri.
- Congress opposition to GST does no credit to a party that opened up the economy 25 years ago
- Kashmir poses not just moral but also existential questions involving statecraft
- New FDI policy in food products is unlikely to be a game-changer by itself
- Swathi murder case in Chennai must trigger a move to enact strong witness protection laws
- A new government in Nepal does not hold out any promise of greater stability
- Kashmir is more than land, it is people