CPI(M), DYFI and CITU workers on Friday waylaid a vehicle carrying a load of tea-leaves from the HML Nedungkarna division to the factory at Arapetta in Wayanad district in Kerala and strew all its contents onto the road at Meppadi as part of their ongoing protest against the management.
This happened despite police being present on the spot. Since February 5, tea-plantation workers in the HML divisions of Achur, Chooramala, Chundel and Arapetta divisions have been on strike in Wayanad under the aegis of CITU demanding an additional 20% bonus as hike in salary.
In the initial days of the strike, the workers staged a sit-in fast in front of the various offices. From March 1 onwards, the protest turned into a total strike and in recent days the police had to step in often to contain ugly scenes between the striking workers and the management.
The workers claim that their continuing protest was in keeping with the High Court judgement and that the management was deliberately trying to provoke their peaceful strike by transporting sacks of tea-leaves at a time when neither the offices nor the factory was functional.
Things came to a head on Friday with the workers enacting out the historic Boston tea party protest at Meppadi with sacks of tea-leaves being forcefully unloaded from the vehicle and strewn all across the road in defiance. The empty vehicle was then later sent back by the striking employees.
Twelve CITU and DYFI workers were later arrested in this regard.
The Boston tea party took place on December 16 of 1773 as a mark of protest against the controversial American Tea Act of May 10, 1773 wherein protestors had off-loaded the huge cartons of tea aboard the East India Company ship into the Boston sea.