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TMC alleges manhandling of MPs in Assam, Rajnath denies

Condemning the alleged manhandling of party MPs at the Silchar airport yesterday, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) today claimed all rules were violated by the Assam administration and said the party will observe "black days" in protest.

PTI Last Updated at 03 Aug 2018, 19:08 IST India

Condemning the alleged manhandling of party MPs at the Silchar airport yesterday, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) today claimed all rules were violated by the Assam administration and said the party will observe "black days" in protest.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, however, accused the members of the TMC delegation of creating an "unruly situation" at the airport.

He said they were detained in view of intelligence inputs on the law and order situation received by the Assam government.

Meanwhile, TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee told newsmen in Kolkata that the party would observe "black day" across West Bengal tomorrow and on Sunday.

"We condemn the way the public representatives were manhandled and detained by the Assam police at the Silchar airport. They being MPs had every right to visit a place, but all rules were violated and our party delegation was stopped. This is shameful," he told reporters.

In the Lok Sabha, Rajnath Singh said prohibitory orders were in force in Assam, and hence, state officials had "requested" the TMC leaders to return from the airport itself.

The TMC leaders were detained at the airport in view of the prevailing law and order situation in the state, he added.

Maintaining that the MPs were extended all courtesies, the Union home minister said since there was no return flight to Kolkata or Delhi from Silchar, the MPs spent the night at the airport guest house and left for Kolkata this morning and had an onward flight to Delhi.

"With folded hands, the district magistrate requested them to return. But without paying heed to the request, the MPs got into shoving, in which two women security personnel were injured," he said.

TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee said citizens of India have the right to move around anywhere in the country and the party's MPs had categorically told the state government officials at the Silchar airport that they would not hold any public meeting.

Responding to the home minister's accusation, a senior TMC leader today said, "The statement of Rajnath Singh is completely unacceptable. We expected that the Centre will intimate us on its own and take appropriate action. Nothing was done. We are completely dissatisfied with his statement. Over the weekend, we are going to chalk out our plan of action for Monday".

The TMC delegation members alleged that they were treated "like infiltrators and pushed back".

Cachar district Deputy Commissioner S Lakshmanan said six TMC leaders left in the morning and two others, both MPs left the state later in the day.

An eight-member TMC delegation comprising six MPs, an MLA, and a state minister was stopped at the Silchar airport yesterday when its members tried to enter Assam's Cachar district to assess the ground reality after the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published in the north-eastern state on Monday.

The complete draft of the NRC, touted to be a proof of Assamese citizenship, had excluded over 40 lakh people, triggering a political slugfest between the BJP and other political parties.

After arriving in Kolkata, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said, "The way infiltrators are treated... we were treated the same way. We were pushed back. We were manhandled, even women MPs were not spared."

"How can six MPs, a minister, and an MLA create trouble in a state?" he asked while talking to reporters.

The prohibitory order document stated that action would be taken against those found to be carrying firearms and explosives, Roy said and asked if it applied for the TMC team.

Before leaving Silchar, he had said, "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."

"The way the MPs and a state minister (Firhad Hakim) were harassed shows that democracy is under threat," another member of the delegation, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, alleged.

"We wonder whether the rule of law exists in the country. It appears that an undeclared emergency is on," she said.

After the TMC leaders had landed at Silchar airport yesterday, the authorities stopped them and took them under preventive detention saying their visit might create trouble.

The Cachar district administration had on Wednesday night, issued a prohibitory order under Section 144 of the CrPC in the district.

The Assam Police, however, denied that the TMC leaders were harassed.

Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia said senior officers of the force "very respectfully" explained to the team that they would not be allowed to leave the airport as 144 of the CrPC was in force.

They have also been barred from entering Guwahati, as per an order by City Police Commissioner Hiren Nath, Saikia said last evening and claimed that two Assam Policewomen constables were injured during a scuffle with the team.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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