Silchar / Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee has accused the BJP government of imposing “super-emergency” after a delegation of Trinamool lawmakers were forcibly stopped by police from venturing out of the Silchar Airport. They were also allegedly assaulted by police.
The Trinamool delegation of six MPs, one MLA, and one state minister landed there in the afternoon to attend a mass convention against the exclusion of 40-lakh people, mostly Bengalis, from the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
The convention was to be held today at Cachar District Congress owned Rajiv Bhavan auditorium in Silchar town, which is some 26-km from the airport.
Although there has been no public outburst in Silchar or elsewhere in Assam so far over the NRC, the district administration invoked Section 144 of the CrPC prohibiting assembly of five or more persons. This made the Rajiv Bhavan authorities to cancel the booking for Trinamool this morning.
Despite this, the Trinamool delegation wanted to travel to Silchar town to talk to some of the Bengali speaking people whose names have been dropped from the draft NRC.
But as soon as they landed at Silchar airport early in the afternoon, a large posse of police led by superintendent of police Rakesh Roushan cordoned them off. Cachar deputy commissioner S Lakshmanan then told the head of the Trinamool delegation Sukhendu Sekhar Roy that they cannot go out of the airport as Section 144 has been promulgated in the district.
This led to a heated argument wherein Roy and other members of the delegation asked where the problem is if they go in a group of four persons or less. Besides, the convention in Silchar has also been cancelled. Despite this, the police did not allow the delegation to venture out of the airport.
Following this, the female members of the Trinamool delegation MPs Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Ratna De Nag, Mamatabala Thakur, Arpita Ghosh, and MLA Mahua Moitra tried to make their way out from the arrival lounge by breaking the police cordon. This led to a fierce scuffle between them and women police officials.
Ghosh Dastidar and delegation head Roy later alleged that they were beaten up by the police. Cachar district administration has said that a lady police officer has suffered bruises in the scuffle with the Trinamool delegation.
After the scuffle, the Trinamool delegation sat on a dharna on the floor at the arrival lounge. They have refused the offer of the administration to move into the VIP lounge.
On landing at Kolkata airport from her Delhi trip, Trinamool supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters that the Trinamool delegation will continue the dharna until they are allowed to enter Silchar town freely.
“They will not go to any hotel or guest house. They haven’t gone there to have bhaat (rice) and sleep. We have sent them to hear out the affected people and stand by them peacefully,” Banerjee said.
The CM asked when the Union home minister Rajnath Singh assured her that nobody will be harassed, why her party delegation has been beaten up at the airport.
“Is it a vendetta, in order to suppress the real facts? The BJP government is simply showing its muscle power, as with a super-emergency government. This is most unfortunate. I condemn this attitude of the rulers.”
“The publication of the NRC has affected 40 lakh people. If the situation is so normal, why has Section 144 been imposed and even eight people are not allowed to leave the airport? Enough is enough. This is the beginning of the end,” she added.