A day after members of a Trinamool Congress delegation were allegedly detained at Silchar airport, party leaders on Friday said they had been treated like “infiltrators” by the BJP government in Assam. They also said they would observe two-day ‘Black Day’ in West Bengal to protest against the incident.
The eight-member TMC delegation had reached Assam to participate in a convention against NRC and to interact with people in the state. On Thursday, the TMC MPs and MLAs had claimed that Assam Police did not allow them to leave the airport. They also alleged that they were manhandled and beaten up by police.
The delegation comprising Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Ratna De Nag, Nadimul Haque, Arpita Ghosh, Mamata Bala Thakur, Firhad Hakim and Mahua Moitra.
Six TMC leaders returned to Kolkata on Friday morning, while the remaining two — Ghosh and Thakur — went to New Delhi.
Speaking to reporters outside Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport, TMC MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray said the delegation members were treated as if they were “infiltrators”. “We are treated like infiltrators and they pushed us back. We will discuss the matter with our leaders to decide on our future course of action,” Ray said.
After being kept at the airport for a few hours, the delegation members said they were then escorted to a hotel on the premises, where they spent the night before flying back to Kolkata.State minister Firhad Hakim said, “The country belongs to all. As a citizen of this country, we have the right to visit any part of it. We were prevented in an undemocratic manner. We had gone there to protect the interest of the people as they have been deprived of their rights. We will protest against this and continue to stand by these people.”
Hakim said that if need be they they will again make attempts to visit Assam “in 10-12 days”. The state minister also said the names of one lakh Nepalis and Biharis were not included in the final draft of NRC.
TMC MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar questioned whether a rule of law prevailed in the country. “It seems that an undeclared emergency is prevailing in the country after the way a parliamentary delegation was stopped by police yesterday,” she said.
Condemning the incident, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Thursday lashed out at the BJP government in Assam for its “barbaric” attitude towards her party MPs.
Meanwhile, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said party workers would observe ‘Black Day’ in every block of the state on Saturday and Sunday.
“Over the next two days, our workers will sport black badges and observe Black Day in every block across West Bengal. They will raise a slogan against the central government,” he said.
Criticising TMC’s decision to observe ‘Black Day’, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “The issue has got nothing to do with Bengal. Nothing happened here and yet they want to stage a protest here against the NRC implementation in Assam. They want to create excitement here.”