A police woman during the scuffle with Trinamool MLA Mohua Moitra at Silchar Airport on Thursday. Photo Courtesy: AITC
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Silchar: The eight Trinamool MPs and MLAs from Bengal, who were forcibly stopped by Assam police from venturing out of Silchar Airport during the day, have been arrested late tonight.

Assam additional director general of police (law & order) Mukesh Agarwal has told reporters in front of Silchar Airport tonight that the Bengal lawmakers have been arrested under Section 151 of the CrPC that empowers police to arrest anyone to prevent the commission of a cognisable offence.

The arrested Trinamool lawmakers include four women MPs Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Ratna De Nag, Mamatabala Thakur, Arpita Ghosh, one woman MLA Mohua Moitra, two male MPs Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Nadimul Haque, and the West Bengal urban development minister Firhad Hakim.

The arrest comes after they refused to board a return flight to Kolkata and were bent on visiting Silchar town to talk to the Bengali people who have been left out of the draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

Agarwal informed that the Trinamool lawmakers have been lodged in the airport itself for the night. He declined to clarify on the step ahead: whether they will be sent to jail and produced in the court tomorrow.

“I will not like to disclose the details at this point in time. There is a laid down procedure in the law and we shall proceed accordingly,” he said.

Police barred a group of reporters who went from Kolkata to cover the Trinamool delegation’s visit from talking to the arrested Trinamool lawmakers. “It is not permitted under law. Maintenance of law and order is important to us,” the Assam ADG (law & order) said.

The CrPC section under which the Trinamool lawmakers have been arrested states that police cannot detain anyone for more than 24-hours unless permitted by a court of law. Going by this, the Trinamool team is likely to be produced before a magistrate on Friday.

Sources informed that a magistrate could personally turn up at the airport early tomorrow, grant bail to the Trinamool lawmakers, and then they will be sent to Kolkata by the first flight that leaves at 7.40 am.

Alternately, they could be produced in a local court, granted bail, and then sent back to Kolkata by an afternoon flight. In case of the second option, police may choose to produce the Trinamool lawmakers not at Silchar court but at Lakhipur sub-divisional court, which is 22-km from the airport via a narrow road that runs behind the airport.