TMC delegates restricted in Silchar airport, barred from entering Guwahati

The team members -- six TMC MPs, an MLA and a West Bengal minister -- were not arrested so far and discussions with them were on, Saikia told reporters here.

TMC delegation stopped at Silchar airport
An eight-member Trinamool Congress (TMC) team that arrived at Silchar today was restricted inside the Kumbhirgram airport as section 144, CrPC was in force in Cachar district, Assam Director General of Police (DGP) Kuladhar Saikia said. The TMC leaders were barred from entering Guwahati in accordance with an order issued by city Police Commissioner Hiren Nath.

The team members -- six TMC MPs, an MLA and a West Bengal minister -- were not arrested so far and discussions with them were on, Saikia told reporters here.

Two women constables of Assam Police were injured during a scuffle with the TMC leaders, he said.

The TMC team is in Silchar at the instruction of party chief Mamata Banerjee to assess the situation in Assam in the wake of the publication of the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) .

After the TMC leaders arrived at the airport, the district administration and police officials explained to them that they would not be allowed to come out as prohibitory orders were in force, Saikia said.

"They have sought time for discussions with their leader on their next course of action," he added.

An additional director general of police (ADGP), the deputy inspector general (DIG) of police, the district deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police "very respectfully" explained to the leaders that they would not be allowed to leave the airport as section 144, CrPC was in force, the DGP said.

"Peace, law and order cannot be allowed to be disturbed. The senior civil and police officials explained to the leaders that their going out for meetings will tantamount to violation of the prohibitory orders in force and it is the responsibility of the law enforcement authorities to prevent violation of law," Saikia added.

The authorities had already explained to the TMC team yesterday that prohibitory orders were in force and that it should not visit Silchar and disturb peace when it had informed the district administration of its visit to the Bengali-dominated town today to address meetings, he said.

"But the team members did not respond cordially and engaged in a scuffle with the security forces and other government staff. Two Assam police women constables and a civil staff were injured," Saikia said.

Banerjee had earlier alleged that the members of the TMC delegation, including women, were "manhandled" at the airport.

Asked if legal action would be taken against the TMC leaders for getting into a scuffle with the security personnel, the DGP said, "Two cases can be filed -- one for violation of section 144, CrPC and another for injuring the police personnel."

He added that those injured in the scuffle were provided medical treatment.

Asked about the clamping of prohibitory orders in Cachar, Saikia said it was done as it was learnt from various sources and the media that certain speeches were made using inflammatory language and it was felt that it would disturb the peace in Assam.

"When the NRC process is going on under the direction of the Supreme Court and its complete draft was published with the cooperation of all people in Assam and there is peace in the state, one section is trying to destroy it by creating disturbances.

"We cannot allow them to take law into their hand. We cannot remain silent. We have to take measures," he added.

Guwahati Police Commissioner Nath, in an order, said the TMC MPs, MLAs and any other political and non-political persons, who might deliver inflammatory speeches against the NRC, were prohibited from entering the city and address any gathering without the permission of the competent authority.

Also, no passenger carrier, including surface or air transport, would carry such persons to the area under the Guwahati police commissionerate, the order said.

The police commissioner stated that it was feared that the TMC leaders were likely to make controversial or inflammatory speeches in Guwahati, which might disturb peace and harmony in the commissionerate area.

He said it was brought to his notice that after the publication of the draft NRC, TMC leaders had made inflammatory and controversial statements and speeches in West Bengal and were planning to address a press conference and group meetings in Guwahati tomorrow.

The remarks of the TMC leaders were opposed by various political organisations and the decision to bar the delegation from entering the Guwahati commissionerate area was taken on the basis of his judgement and powers, Nath said.

The order stated that any person aggrieved by it could contest it by appearing before the commissioner for filing a written objection.
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