Abortive robbery bid at Socklating TE, 1 killed

From a Correspondent

JORHAT, Dec 31: A worker was killed in a shoot-out when armed robbers made an attempt to loot cash at Socklating tea garden under Pulibor police outpost in Jorhat district on Thursday. Two armed robbers, who came on a motorcycle, tried to loot Rs 2 lakh meant for paying the workers' wages.  One of the robbers opened fire as they engaged in a scuffle with the workers. A worker, Suman Rao (45), was mortally hit by a bullet and he succumbed later to the injury. The incident took place at around 3.30 pm at Socklating garden's Bahbari Out-Division office where the workers had gathered to collect their wages. The two robbers - identified as Dipu Phookon and Prashanta Das - were stabbed by the workers. They have been admitted at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital in critical condition. Police recovered one .32 pistol from the robbers' possession.

The police later detained the mager of the garden, Rupak Phukan, on charges of negligence. Police said the garden magement did not take precautiory measures  like requisitioning police protection while carrying money from the bank to the garden.

Tea garden workers, backed by various local organizations, staged a road blockade demanding stern punishment to the culprits. Additiol police forces were deployed to control the situation.

Socklating tea garden is owned by one Arvind Mewar, a Kolkata based businessman. He also owns a number of other tea gardens in Assam like Mahima, Choukiting and Halmeera.

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Sentinel Assam