The ongoing Centre-Opposition face-off took a dramatic turn after a Trinamool Congress delegation, which on Thursday reached Assam to inquire the situation post-NRC draft release, was stopped at the Silchar airport.
The eight-member TMC delegation, including six MPs and two MLAs detained at Silchar airport, the news agency ANI reported.
Speaking to ANI, TMC MP Derek O Brien said, "Our delegation was detained at Silchar airport. It is our democratic right to meet people, this is a super emergency like situation".
The team comprising MPs Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Ratna De Nag, Nadimul Haque and Arpita Ghosh, West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim and legislator Mohua Moitra arrived at Silchar from Kolkata at 1.05 pm.
The TMC members were scheduled to address citizens at Silchar, especially those whose names have been excluded from the Assam NRC draft, released on July 30.
According to sources, the TMC delegation was kept in the VIP lounge of Kumbhigram airport in Cachar district under Barak Valley region and was told that their visit may create trouble.
Elaborating the matter, Rakesh Kumar, SP Cachar said, "Under preventive detention of Section 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the TMC leaders will be kept inside Silchar Airport".
Earlier on Wednesday, the Cachar district administration-imposed Section 144 of the CrPC and banned entry of any person not involved with the NRC process in the district. The Assam police had also requested the delegation not to come to Silchar now as it was important for them to maintain peace in the state.
Meanwhile, making the situation harder to deal, TMC members led by senior leader Saugata Ray started agitation against the detention and demanded a response from the government on it in the Lok Sabha.
"Assam Police has detained them at Silchar Airport. They are interfering with the free movement of people. This is a breach of privilege. We want government response on this," Ray said.
Responding to the matter Guwahati Commissioner of Police later released a statement, which states that the authority has prohibited 8 TMC MPs, West Bengal Ministers, MLAs and any other person who may deliver inflammatory speeches against NRC, from entering Guwahati.
No passenger carrier services including surface/air transport should carry such persons to Guwahati, it added.
Assam: Guwahati Commissioner of Police prohibits 8 TMC MPs, West Bengal Ministers&MLAs & any other person who may deliver inflammatory speeches against NRC, from entering Guwahati. No passenger carrier services including surface/air transport should carry such persons to Guwahati pic.twitter.com/A76Kvnlrm0— ANI (@ANI) August 2, 2018
A group of police constables, who restrained TMC leaders in Assam's Silchar also released their medical reports alleging physical assault by the eight-member TMC delegation.
Copies of medical reports of constables who restrained TMC leaders in Assam's Silchar. They make allegations of physical assault on them by TMC leaders pic.twitter.com/wiLcjnkq3j— ANI (@ANI) August 2, 2018
"In the scuffle, 2 of our constables and 1 worker from district administration were injured. Legal actions will be taken on the basis of FIRs by injured abd for violation of Section 144", said Kuladhar Saikia, Assam DGP.
Elimination of over 40 lakh people from Assam NRC draft, which is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in the state, has given birth to a new political debate, leading to a state-wide protest and adjournment of Rajya Sabha proceedings for 3 days.
Three days after the NRC publication, the TMC team reached Assam following the instruction of party chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Banerjee has accused the ruling BJP of resorting to "vote-bank politics" on the NRC issue, adding that "Indian citizens have become refugees" in their own land.