27 Dec 2012

Tea pickers burn their boss in his own home

10:05 pm on 27 December 2012

Furious tea plantation workers in north-east India have burned their boss and his wife to death.

About 700 angry workers surrounded the house in Assam state following a two-week long dispute with the management.

Police said the incident happened after the management asked some workers to leave their accommodation.

Two vehicles belonging to the manager were also torched.

Police have detained three workers in connection with the incident.

More than half of India's tea output comes from 800 tea estates in Assam.

Local official SS Meenakshi Sundaram said the charred bodies of Mridul Kumar Bhattacharyya and his wife, Rita, were later recovered from the debris.

Officials said Mr Bhattacharyya and his workers had been locked in a dispute for the past two weeks.

They said Mr Bhattacharyya had also faced protests at another tea estate that he owned two years ago.

In that dispute, angry workers set fire to his tea factory near the state capital, Guwahati, after he had allegedly fired on a crowd that had gathered near his house to protest against a reported attack on a local woman.

Several incidents of attacks on tea executives by angry workers have been reported from Assam in recent years.