Assam chief of TMC quits over NRC row, says Mamata Banerjee politicising issue

Dipen Pathak quit on a day a TMC delegation on NRC protested in Silchar after being stopped by the police

GUWAHATI: Trinamool Congress Assam unit president Dipen Pathak and two other state leaders resigned from the membership of party following differences with party chief Mamata Banerjee on the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Pathak announced his decision shortly after a TMC delegation, which included six MPs, created a scene after being stopped at the Silchar airport during a trip to Assam to interact with people on NRC.

“Before sending an eight-member delegations to Assam on Thursday, the party leadership did not even consult us. TMC leadership is terming the NRC updation as a Bengali-driving out exercise, which is completely wrong. What the delegation did in Silchar was completely wrong,” Pathak said.

Pathak represented the Hajo constituency in the state Assembly from 2011-2016. Two other state functionaries Diganta Saikia and Pradeep Pachoni too quit protesting the party's stand on NRC.

More than 40 lakh people were left out of the final draft of the NRC in Assam published earlier this week. While the BJP-led governments in the Centre and the state welcomed the document, Banerjee warned it would lead to a "bloodbath".

"Mamata is out to incite communal tension in Assam and break age-old harmony. We have asked her to visit Assam on several occasions when Assam faced unprecedented flooding, she could not find time. Again, we asked her to raise the flood problem of Assam in Parliament, which she never did. Now she is out to politicize the NRC issue,” Pathak said.

The TMC delegation was prevented by the district administration from going out of the airport and interacting with the people on the ground that Section 144 Cr. PC was in force in the entire Cachar district.

Delegation members told the administration that they would go out in four groups of two persons each, which will not violate Section 144 Cr.PC, but the district administration officials refused.

This led to a scuffle with the police and some members of the delegation received minor injuries. TMC complained that the MPs were manhandled and is reportedly set to move a privilege motion in the Lok Sabha.

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