DIBRUGARH, June 27 - Illegal timber business flourishing in the district caused a bizarre sequence of events that resulted in the death of two persons since Saturday night.
One Boluram Sawansi (24) of the Greenwood Tea Estate, a young local leader who had invited the wrath of people involved in the illegal trade by raising his voice of protest against it, was tied to a timber-laden Tata DI truck (AS 06 AC 6649) with a rope by one Biraj Dutta, the driver, with the help of two handymen, and was dragged to a considerable distance along the road on Saturday night.
Boluram did not survive the brutality.
On hearing about the incident, tea garden workers from the Maijan and Greenwood Tea Estates gave the truck a chase and waylaid it near the Maijan Rajgarh Beel. The driver then jumped into the beel to escape the hundreds of rampaging tea garden workers, while his accomplices were beaten up mercilessly. The truck was set ablaze.
The body of Biraj, who had been missing since that night, was fished out of the beel this noon, according to the branch secretary of the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, Nabin Keot.
Meanwhile, thousands of tea garden workers from Maijan and Greenwood staged a blockade on the NH-37 near Chaulkhowa in protest against Boluram�s gruesome murder. The blockade was jointly organised by the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha and the Assam Tea Tribes Students� Association (ATTSA). The organisations have demanded adequate compensation for the next of kin of Boluram and demanded dismantling of all illegal sawmills in the Rohmoria area. All those who are involved in running the illegal sawmills, including government officials, must be booked and punished, they said.
The TEs today observed a bandh to protest the killing.
Meanwhile, police arrested Amit Saikia, the owner of the DI truck, along with his brother. The handymen, Jitu Baruah and Kaliram Gogoi, are undergoing treatment at the Assam Medical College and Hospital (AMCH) in critical condition.