Credit: Representational image

Guwahati: Reacting sharply to the development at Teok Tea Estate (TE) in Jorhat district of Assam where Deben Dutta, a 73-year-old senior resident doctor, was beaten to death by the workers on Saturday, the anti-talks faction of the United Liberation front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) threatened to take stringent action against those involved in such acts in the future.

In an open letter to the tea tribe people of the state, the self-styled commander-in-chief of the outfit, Paresh Baruah, said that the indigenous people of the state are fed up of such acts of crime, which are increasing gradually by a section of tea garden workers in Assam over the years.

Dr Deben Dutta (73) was reportedly beaten to death by garden workers in Assam’s Jorhat district on Saturday

“The indigenous people of the state always consider the tea tribe people in Assam as an integral part of Assamese society. The indigenous people are always giving enough respect and recognition to the tea tribes residing in Assam. But it’s really unfortunate that a section of tea tribes people are continuously targeting the indigenous people of the state in the name of seeking social justice,” the ULFA (I) leader alleged.

Criticising a section of the community members, who are allegedly involved in such acts, the leader of the proscribed militant outfit said that such middle-age barbarism on the indigenous people have created confusion among the age-old relationship between the communities.

Referring to the previous attack on the indigenous people by a section of tea tribe workers, the ULFA (I) leader said that people of Assam still remember the killing of tea planter Mridul Kumar Bhattacharya and his wife Rita on December 26, 2012. Both Bhattacharyya and his wife were brutally killed by a mob of tea garden workers in his Kunapathar Tea Estate in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district.

A group of 600-700 workers had first attacked Bhattacharya and his wife in their bungalow at Konapathar tea estate, 50km from Tinsukia town in upper Assam, bordering Arunachal Pradesh and then set the bungalow on fire with them inside. Two charred bodies were later recovered from the bungalow, the insides of which were completely burnt. “Some of the tea garden workers even ate the flesh of the deceased. Such kind of crime is rare in the world. The people of Assam wholeheartedly condemned the incident,” Baruah recalled.

Soon after the incident at Kunapathar Tea Estate, the outfit appealed the tea community workers in Assam to refrain from such kind of barbarism in future. However, despite the appeal, a section of tea workers inhumanly killed Nomal Bora of Dikom in upper Assam later, Baruah alleged.

“In spite of our numerous requests from time to time to tea tribes people not to repeat such activities in Assam over the years, the recent development at Teok Tea Estate has surprised a large section of people in the society,” the ULFA leader said, announcing that if someone gets involved in such activities in future, the outfit will take stringent punishment against them.

Criticising a section of tea community leaders of their involvement in provoking such activities, the anti-talk faction of the ULFA also blamed the leaders and members of different political parties for allegedly using tea garden workers to gain their vested political interests.

Urging the state political party leaders to take initiative for overall development of the tea tribe people of the state, Paresh Baruah also threatened to take steps against those political leaders who fail to carry on proper development works for the welfare of the tea community in Assam.

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