New Delhi: The Trinamool Congress delegation, which was detained and spent the Thursday night at Assam’s Silchar airport, made its way back to Kolkata this morning.
Six of the eight lawmakers took a flight back to Kolkata early this morning. Two others — MPs Mamatabala Thakur and Arpita Ghosh — would leave the state later in the day, Cachar district Deputy Commissioner S Lakshmanan 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," Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, who was among those detained, said.
The lawmakers – six MPs and two MLAs - had gone to Assam on a two-day visit to campaign against the National Register of Citizens. They were stopped by authorities on the grounds that prohibitory orders were in place and their "inflammatory" speeches could affect the law and order situation.
The TMC delegation as well as the police accused each other of using force and released footage of the scuffle at the airport. In the video released by the TMC, women lawmakers can be seen being chased and restrained by policewomen.
The clip released by the police, on the other hand, showed MLA Mahua Moitra pushing a policewoman who was pleading with her to stop. Assam DGP Kuladhar Saikia said that three cops, including a woman, were injured in the scuffle.
TMC chief and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee described the incident as “super emergency” and asked the delegation to stay put at the airport.
BJP’s Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh, however, blamed the TMC members for the incident, saying they had no business going to Assam. “They are the problem. Who asked the TMC MPs to go there? No one else has gone there. They have gone there to spread tension and create trouble. They should come back.”
“Our MPs were obstructed in a similar way when we tried to visit any trouble-hit area in Bengal. TMC leaders have no business in Assam,” he added.
The eight-member team had reached the airport around 1.30 pm to attend a citizen’s convention in the city and was also supposed to visit Nagaon and Guwahati on Friday.
The team included six MPs - Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Ratna De Nag, Nadimul Haque, Arpita Ghosh and Mamata Thakur - and Bengal urban development minister Firhad Hakim and MLA Mahua Moitra