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TMC leaders, detained overnight at airport, leave Assam

Last updated on: August 03, 2018 15:16 IST

IMAGE: TMC MLA Mohua Moitra in distress at Silchar airport. Photograph: @AITCofficial/Twitter

Six leaders of the Trinamool Congress, who were part of the eight-member delegation detained at Silchar airport while attempting to visit Assam post- National Register of Citizens, said they were treated “like infiltrators and pushed back”.

The six leaders left Assam on Friday morning after an overnight detention at the airport.

 

Cachar district Deputy Commissioner S Lakshmanan said six TMC leaders left and two others -- MPs Mamatabala Thakur and Arpita Ghosh -- would leave the state later in the day.

The TMC delegation -- six MPs, one MLA and one West Bengal minister -- had gone to Silchar in Assam to interact with people left out of the complete draft of the NRC published on July 30.

The complete draft of the NRC, touted to be a proof of Assamese citizenship, had excluded over 40 lakh people, triggering a political slugfest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and other political parties.

After arriving in Kolkata, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said, “The way infiltrators are treated... they are pushed back... we were treated the same way... we were pushed back. We were manhandled, even women MPs were not spared.”

“How can six MPs, a minister and an MLA create trouble in a state?” he asked while talking to reporters.

The prohibitory order document stated that action would be taken against those found to be carrying firearms and explosives, Roy said, and asked whether they had been carrying such items.

Before leaving Silchar, he had said, “We are going back. The police have not allowed us to go out. We requested them several times but they refused. We spent the night in three rooms at the airport.”

“The way the MPs and a state minister (Firhad Hakim) were harassed shows that democracy is under threat,” another member of the delegation Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar alleged.

“We wonder whether rule of law exits in the country. It appears that an undeclared emergency is on,” she said.

After the TMC leaders had landed at Silchar airport on Thursday, the authorities stopped them and took them under preventive detention, saying their visit might create trouble.

The Cachar district administration on Wednesday night had issued prohibitory order under Section 144 of the CrPC in the district.

The Assam Police, however, denied that the TMC leaders were harassed.
Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia said senior officers of the force “very respectfully” explained to the team that they would not be allowed to leave the airport as 144 of the CrPC was in force.

They have also been barred from entering Guwahati, as per an order by city Police Commissioner Hiren Nath, Saikia said last evening and added that two Assam Police women constables were injured during a scuffle by the team. 

TMC MPs created unruly situation at Silchar airport: Rajnath

Home Minister Rajnath Singh accused Trinamool Congress MPs of creating an “unruly situation” at the Silchar airport and said they were detained in view of intelligence inputs received by the Assam government on the law and order situation.

In the Lok Sabha, Singh said since there were prohibitory orders in Assam, state officials had “requested” TMC MPs to return from the airport itself.         

“The government of Assam had some information and based on intelligence inputs... In view of the prevailing law and order situation and so the situation does not deteriorate, TMC MPs were detained at the Silchar airport,” Singh said. 

TMC’s Kalyan Banerjee, in his speech, said citizens of India have right to move around anywhere in the country and these MPs had categorically told the state government officer at Silchar airport that “they would not hold any public meeting”. 

Maintaining that the MPs were extended all courtesies, Singh said since there was no return flight to Kolkata or Delhi from Silchar, the MPs spent the night at the Silchar airport guest house and left for Kolkata on Friday morning and have an onward flight to Delhi.

“The kind of respect that should be shown to a public representative, similar respect was shown to TMC MPs. With folded hands the District Magistrate requested them to return. But without paying heed to the request, the MPs got into shoving in which two women security personnel also got hurt,” the home minister added.

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