Assam Chief Minister Orders Probe Into Death Of Labourers In Meghalaya

Guwahati, April 8 : After the death of 14 Dhubri district labourers in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills, Tarun Gogoi, Assam’s Chief Minister, ordered an investigation.

Gogoi asked additional chief secretary, S Meora, to initiate the investigation.

The labourers, all from the Golokganj area of Dhubri district, were working in Meghalaya on a road construction project. It was reported that they all died of food poisoning on Monday, at their camp in the Saipung area of the East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya.

Meghalaya police reported that the labourers had collected wild fruits from a dense forest nearby. They apparently made chutney and consumed it with their evening meal on Sunday.

Their bodies were found at their camp on Monday morning. A post-mortem was apparently carried out under instructins by the Meghalaya police.

The cause of death for the labourers will be reported after the post-mortem is completed.

Meghalaya police released the bodies so they would be sent back to their home village, where they arrived on Wednesday morning. Local people did not believe the story about poison fruits, alleging a pre-planned murder. They demanded a new post-mortem to find out the actual cause of death.

Some people suspected the deaths were related to militants in the East Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya, saying, “Militants had demanded ransom from the contractor of the construction recently.”

Hemanta Kumar Nath is a correspondent in Assam, India, who reports on local news in Assam, the north east Indian state.