Silchar: Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress lawmakers spent Thursday night at Assam’s Silchar airport, after they were formally arrested earlier in the evening.
Six Trinamool Congress (TMC) parliamentarians and two party legislators were detained at the Silchar airport after they had gone to Assam to campaign against the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) list.
Political storm triggered soon after Assam had released the draft NRC in the state on Monday.
On Friday morning, six of the eight lawmakers took a flight back to Kolkata. The other two members are expected to take a flight to Delhi later in the afternoon.
Footage from the Silchar airport shows women lawmakers in the Trinamool delegation running as they were chased and restrained by policewomen. The police too, have presented footage claiming one of the woman lawmakers had jostled and pushed a constable, injuring her.
In the video footage, TMC MLA Mahua Moitra is seen being manhandled by the woman constable, who at one point, is seen pleading with her.
On Thursday evening, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee had told her lawmakers to stay put at the airport and not go anywhere.
“There is a super emergency in Assam. They don’t want us to talk to people,” Mamata Banerjee said.
The eight-member delegation of Trinamool lawmakers was to address public meetings in Silchar against the National Register of Citizens or NRC, an updated list that excludes 40 lakh people from Assam.
As the Trinamool delegation landed around 1.30 pm, a large contingent of police and district officials deployed at the airport refused to let them leave, citing an overnight ban on large gatherings and imposition of Section 144.
The argument escalated, with the Trinamool alleging that its lawmakers were roughed up.
“Our members were roughed up. Sukhendu Shekhar Roy has a pacemaker, he was also roughed up,” said TMC MP leader Derek O’Brien.
Women MPs were also hurt, he said, adding: “What is going on?”
Rajya Sabha member Sukhendu Shekhar Roy who led the team said that the police refused to let the lawmakers go into town even after he and his colleagues cancelled public meeting and assured the police that they would only meet people.
“But they did not allow us. We are at the airport, gheraoed by policemen. There are 1,000 policemen outside. This is the measure of the democracy of Narendra Modi,” said Sukhendu Shekhar Roy.
“77 passengers in the same aircraft were allowed to move out. Only 6 of us were not allowed. We had to cancel our public meeting. We just wanted to have on-the-spot study of the situation,” Roy added.
The lawmakers protested at the arrival lounge for hours before they were detained.
A large number of Trinamool supporters gathered outside the airport and shouted slogans. Nobody was allowed to enter or leave the airport.
“I think this is beginning of the end. They are frustrated, they are politically tensed and depressed. And that’s why they are showing muscle power,” said Mamata Banerjee.
Meanwhile, the BJP, which rules Assam, has accused Mamata Banerjee of fanning flames which are dormant, and trying to incite unrest.