TMC leaders 'roughed up', detained at Silchar airport
Silchar: Amid high drama, a delegation sent by the Trinamool Congress to assess the situation in Assam post-NRC was stopped at the airport here on Thursday and the members taken under preventive detention later, prompting Mamata Banerjee to cry foul and allege the BJP of imposing "super emergency" in the country.
The members were taken under preventive detention under 151 CrPC (arrest to prevent the commission of cognisable offences), ADGP Mukesh Agarwala said.
The TMC leaders would be sent back on Friday to West Bengal, he said.
Asked whether they would stay at the airport overnight, he said the police were looking into the protocol.
As the Trinamool team landed around 1.30 pm, the airport had a large contingent of police and district officials who refused to let the lawmakers leave citing an overnight ban on large gatherings.
The argument escalated, with the Trinamool alleging that its members were roughed up. Visuals recorded on mobile phone show Mahua Moitra, an MP, trying to get away from the policewomen, who run after her. Another woman lawmaker is pushed.
"Our members were roughed up. Sukhendu Shekhar Roy has a pacemaker, he was also roughed up," said outraged Trinamool leader Derek O'Brien in Delhi.
Women MPs were also hurt, he said, adding: "What is going on?"
Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, the Rajya Sabha member who led the team, said the police refused to let the group go into town even after he and his colleagues cancelled a public meeting and assured the police that they would only meet people.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the incident and claimed her partymen were manhandled at the airport.
The issue also figured in Lok Sabha when TMC members, led by senior leader Saugata Ray, protested the detention of four party MPs and demanded a response from the government in the House. Trinamool Congress MPs Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Arpita Ghosh, Mamata Thakur, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and Nadimul Haque besides state minister Firhad Hakim and MLA Mohua Maitra were detained.
"Assam Police has detained them at Silchar Airport. They (Assam Police) were interfering with the free movement of people. This is a breach of privilege," Ray said, adding, "We want the government's response on this."
Ray said he would bring a privilege motion against the Assam government in Lok Sabha.
Banerjee said that the BJP stands exposed by this incident and sought to know under which law the TMC delegation was stopped at the airport.
Arriving in Kolkata from Delhi, where she met many opposition leaders, Mamata told reporters that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured her that no one would be harassed on the NRC issue.