Assault slur on tea estate managers

Alipurduar, Dec. 22: A 62-year-old retired worker of Lankapara Tea Garden in Birpara was beaten up allegedly by two assistant managers of the estate on the charges of stealing firewood. Joseph Munda has been admitted to Birpara State General Hospital.

The two officials of the garden, run by Duncans, are missing, police said.

Munda said from his hospital bed that he was returning home after collecting firewood at 4.15pm yesterday. “Suddenly, the two assistant managers, Prafulla Das and Sanjoy Das, forced me to enter their chamber and started beating me with their hands, legs and sticks, accusing me with stealing the firewood. The assault continued for half an hour. They hit me on the chest, abdomen and head. Now I cannot urinate properly. They let off me with a warning that I should not disclose the incident to my family members.”

About 10pm, Munda started bleeding from the mouth and felt severe pain in his body. His family members rushed him to the garden hospital but doctors there referred him to the Birpara hospital.

In protest, most of the garden workers stayed from work this morning and demonstrated in front of the factory gate, demanding the arrest of the accused managers.

Officials from the Birpara police station reached the garden at 11am. Immediately, the trade union leaders held talks with the management in the presence of the law enforcers. Three hours later, the protesters withdrew the agitation after they were assured of action against the accused.

Manika Munda, the daughter-in-law of the victim, lodged an FIR with the Birpara police.

Rabin Rai, the Citu leader from Birpara who visited the garden after the incident, admitted that the retired worker was assaulted on the charges of stealing firewood. “The two assistant managers also asked the doctors at the garden hospital not to treat Munda when he was taken there at night.”

The union leader said he had a talk with the garden manager, Vivek Singh Bhatnagar, who assured him that Munda’s medical expenses at the hospital would be borne by the estate.

The subdivisional police officer of Alipurduar, Ujjwal Bhowmik, admitted to have received the complaint. “The two assistant managers are absconding. We have started a case and an investigation is on,” he said. The garden management could not be contacted despite several attempts.

From: The Telegraph