Kolkata: The police in Silchar in Assam’s Cachar district on Thursday detained an eight-member parliamentary delegation of the Trinamool Congress at the airport and stopped the lawmakers from visiting the town.
The lawmakers were on their way to meet the “victims" of the citizen registry exercise in Assam.
The state administration cited restrictions on assembly of five or more persons—under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure—for stopping the Trinamool Congress contingent from entering Silchar.
The administration has imposed prohibitory orders to make sure there was no disruption in law and order in the wake of the release of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Assam’s director general of police Kuladhar Saikia said. The lawmakers were prevented from visiting Silchar to make sure that peace was not disrupted, he said.
Three criminal cases have been filed against Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for criminal conspiracy, intimidation and creating tension between communities, Saikia added.
Returning to Kolkata from New Delhi, Banerjee said the country was facing a “state of emergency". “If everything is peaceful in Assam, why was the parliamentary delegation stopped at the Silchar airport despite assurance from the Union home minister that no one will be harassed?" she asked.
On Thursday, the BJP reiterated its demand for conducting a similar citizen registry exercise in West Bengal as well. After meeting governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, BJP’s state president Dilip Ghosh alleged that some 10 million illegal immigrants from Bangladesh were living in West Bengal.
In a memorandum submitted to the governor, the BJP said that “no Bengali Hindu refugee from Bangladesh will have to leave the country".
The Trinamool Congress team was to hold a town hall meeting in Silchar in the evening, and proceed to Guwahati on Friday. Their plan was to test waters for expanding in Cachar district, where the dominant Bengali community had “strong reservations" about having to prove their nationality through ancestry, said a social activist from Silchar, who asked not to be named.
The people of the district have lately swung towards the BJP: in the 2016 assembly elections, the party won six of the seven seats in Cachar district.
The Trinamool Congress has previously tried to expand its footprint in Bengali dominated regions in Tripura and Assam. She (Mamata) is trying to incite trouble for political gains, alleged BJP’s Ghosh, while defending the Assam administration’s decision to stop the Trinamool Congress lawmakers from entering Silchar.