After overnight detention at Silchar airport, TMC leaders return to Kolkata

After an overnight detention at Silchar airport, members of TMC delegation returned to Kolkata on Friday. They had gone to Assam on Thursday to participate in a convention against the recently-released draft NRC.

Of the eight-member delegation who were barred from leaving the Silchar airport six of them on Friday returned to Kolkata. Two others are expected to leave later today, reported news agency PTI.

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The visit by the delegation on Thursday was marred by assault and manhandling. While the Assam Directorate General of Police (DGP) claimed two constables suffered injuries after being “assaulted” by Moitra, the TMC has said its members were “roughed up” at the airport.

 

The delegation had arrived in Assam to participate in a convention against Assam’s recently-released draft National Register of Citizenship (NRC) published last month on July 30.

On Friday Home Minister Rajnath Singh clarified in the Lok Sabha, that the government received information from media as well as intelligence and therefore to maintain law and order, in the state, the MPs were detained. The MPs were given due respect by district administrators and police officers with “folded hands” told the MPs that it would not be possible to go out.

“Delegation member created an unruly situation.”

“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,” Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy was quoted as saying by PTI.

He has left Assam along with MPs Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Ratna De Nag and Nadimul Haque, and West Bengal ministers Firhad Hakim and MLA Mohua Moitra.

MPs Mamatabala Thakur and Arpita Ghosh will leave the state later today.

TMC leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday blamed the BJP for the incident. “Why is the Assam government behaving like this, along with the Centre? This is a political vendetta. The BJP only has muscle power.”

The Assam DGP had said the TMC leaders were stopped from entering Silchar as authorities feared their arrival would “create differences among the people.”

Assam’s final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was released on Monday. Of the 3.29 crore candidates who applied for citizenship, the NRC listed only 2.89 crore — 40 lakh people were not included. First published in 1951, Assam is the only state to have such a document. Officials have said those who are not included in the draft NRC can re-apply for citizenship.

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