Itahari, February 9 :

Cadres of the Tharu Kalyankarini Sabha (TKS), torched the country’s largest jute mill in Sonapur last night. Some 60 machines were gutted in the fire, causing a loss of over Rs 5 million.

The arson at the loom branch of the No. 5 plant of the Sonapur-4 based Arihant Multi-Fibers Limited has caused a loss of over Rs 5 million, said the manager of the industry, Govind Bajgain. TKS cadres set fire to the plant after alleging that plant was still running even after the bandh called today by the Sabha. At least five workers were injured when TKS cadres started vandalizing the plant.

TKS cadres broke into the industry at night to set it ablaze, Bajgain said. The police and armed police force had to fire four tear-gas shells to disperse the TKS cadres.

Hundreds of bandh supporters broke the security cordon and entered the plant premises to torch it, sub-inspector at the Duhabi area police office (APO) Rajesh Chaudhary said. Police claimed that the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum and the Terai Janatantrik Rastriya Mukti Morcha cadres also were part of the rampaging crowd of the TKS cadres.

The industry is run by the Golchha group.

The mob also torched the Sonapur-2 based house of Om Thapa, a worker in the industry and secretary of the Nepal Factory Workers’ Congress (Sunsari), police said. Thapa has lost property worth Rs 2 lakhs due to the fire.