Assam: Post NRC draft release and imposition of sec 144, TMC leaders detained at Silchar Airport

A team of Trinamool MPs and MLAs were detained at the Silchar airport today. The team had gone to Assam in response to the final draft of the NRC which was published recently. The team which was led by West Bengal Minister Firhad Hakim consisted of 6 MPs, 1 MLA and 1 Minister.

Party leader Kakali Ghosh Dastidar has alleged that the Police misbehaved with the members of the team. “As soon as we reached the arrival lounge of the Silchar airport, we were confronted by a team comprising of the district magistrate and police officers. A police personnel hit me on my chest. The cops also manhandled Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Mamata Bala Thakur and Mahua Moitra,” TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray alleged. However, S Laxman, Deputy Commissioner of Assam’s Cachar district has denied the allegations.

Controversial TMC leader, Derek O’Brien, deemed the incident a ‘super emergency’. He said, “Our delegation was detained at Silchar airport. It is our democratic right to meet people, this is a super emergency like situation. What is going on? If 144 is on, where is the notification? They are lawmakers, not lawbreakers. Therefore they agreed to go in groups of two. Six MPs and one MLA have been detained at the airport. This is a bad situation. People are nervous and we are trying to be with the people.”

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Kamalakhya Dey Purkyastha, the Congress legislator from Assam, disagreed with the detainment of the TMC team. He said, “My personal view is that the decision by the Assam government not allowing the TMC delegates to come out and meet the people is wrong. This was our chance to tell them that whatever TMC and Mamata Banerjee have been saying about NRC in Assam is all wrong.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asserted that the TMC team has no business in the state and that they are there to ‘spread tension and create trouble.’ “They are the problem. Who asked the Trinamool MPs to go there? None else has gone there … They should come back,” Dilip Ghosh, president of West Bengal’s BJP unit, said. “If they try to create unrest in Assam, the administration will take action. They should be forced out of the state,” BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said.

The Cachar district administration issued a prohibitory order under section 144 of the CrPC last night and banned the entry of anyone not involved with the NRC in the district. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has come under severe criticism following her inflammatory remarks on the NRC resulting in 2 members of the TMC in Assam quitting the party. A case has also been registered against her for her ‘civil war’ remark.

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