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Trinamool Congress team detained at Silchar Airport

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SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

SILCHAR: Tension prevailed at Kumbhirgram airport in Silchar in Assam after a Trinamool Congress (TMC) delegation was prevented by the district administration from going out of the airport and interacting with the people.

The delegation including six Members of Parliament and two MLAs were confined to a room at the airport on the ground that Section 144 Cr. PC was in force in the entire Cachar district.

As directed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, an eight-member delegation of minister, MPs and MLA landed at Silchar airport just past mid noon today by a flight from Kolkata. The delegation comprised MPs Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Ratna De Nag, Nadimul Haque, Arpita Ghosh, Mamata Thakur, State Minister Firhad Hakim and MLA Mahua Moitra. As soon as they alighted from the flight, a police team led by SP Rakesh Roushan encircled them and advised them not to move out of the airport as the situation in Barak Valley continues to be tense, following the publication of the second draft.

But, the members of the delegation insisted they should be allowed to proceed to the town as they have prefixed programme to meet the people left out of the NRC. The Deputy Commissioner of Cachar S Lakshmanan who was also present at the airport, tried his best along with the SP to make them understand that considering the overall situation, they should rather return back by the next available flight to Kolkata. The MPs, the minister and the MLA became restive and even aggressive despite all the restraint exercised by the district administrative heads and the police team present.

As the West Bengal team remained unrelenting, the district administration took the decision to keep them confined in the VIP lounge of the airport for the time being to decide about the next course of action. In view of the visit of Trinamool Congress party delegation, the district administration had clamped 144 CrPC from Monday across Cachar district. ADGP, Law and Order, Mukesh Agarwal, has been camping for the last two days, giving the signal that this visit of team members has not been taken kindly by the state government.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee just after the publication of the draft has been indulging in inflammatory and provocative statements on the fate of the left outs from NRC. Political analysts and observers have commented that the statements of Mamata Banerjee show that she has no concern for the left outs, but her motive is to ‘fish in troubled water and gain political mileage’. From all account, the observers say the Chief Minister of West Bengal has little or no knowledge about the burgeoning problem of influx of aliens in Assam and its disastrous consequences on the demographic profile of the state.

According to airport source, TMC delegation members were involved in direct confrontation with the police and in the scuffle, two female constables of Assam Police were injured, necessitating hospitalization. The medical reports show injuries to their chest, shoulder, and hands. Dr Rajdeep Roy, spokesperson, state BJP, taking a serious view of the premeditated and motivated visit of the TMC delegation said, “They have no business to meddle in any affairs of Assam, be it NRC or citizenship. They should take care of their own state first”. He appreciated the tough stand taken by the district administration of Cachar.

The TMC delegation on the directive of Mamata Banerjee was to address a public meeting at Rajiv Bhawan here at 4.30 pm and thereafter proceed to Guwahati to meet the NRC left outs the next day. The latest information is that under heavy security cover, the TMC team would be taken to NIT guest house where they would be lodged. They would be sent back to Kolkata by the next morning flight.