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April 13, 2001
Shri Phani Bhusan Chaudhury
Chief Minister of Assam, Dispur
Guwahati 561291, Assam
Dear Mr. Chaudhury
We are deeply distressed to hear about the act of violence committed by army personnel against a hapless group of workers of Tonganagaon Tea Garden in Assam.
These 5000 workers have not been paid their wages since September 2000. They were holding onto the plantation's "tea chests" (surplus stock of tea) until the management agreed to pay their outstanding wages. However, on 16 February 2001, army personnel forcibly tried to remove the "tea chests" from the plantation. In response to the workers' protests, even old men, women and children were beaten mercilessly. It is alleged that young girls and even pregnant women were molested and raped. Many were injured. The army major in command also threatened the workers with dire consequences if they reported the matter.
To restore justice to the workers, we request you investigate this incident, punish the guilty, compensate the injured and pressurise the management to pay the wages to all their employees, restore electricity, water, medical facilities of the plantation. Thank You
(Ms.) Regina Pyon, Yeon-Shik
Chair of Internal Solidary Committee
Korean Catholic Human Rights Committee
International Labour Office
4, route des Morillons, CH-1211 Geneva 22
Chairman, Tea Board Of India
14 Biplabi Trailokya Maharaj Sarani, Calcutta
H. K. Kanoi, Tonganagaon Tea Co. Pvt. Ltd.
1002, Himadri Apartments
22, Ballygunj Park Road, Calcutta 700019, West Bengal India.