Apoplectic with Thursday's incident at Silchar airport involving Trinamool Congress lawmakers, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has vowed to continue her fight for the sake of common people and said, ' We will never step back ' .
Stating that the country is experiencing a state of “super emergency”, Ms Banerjee reiterated that her fight for justice for the people will continue, even if lakhs of FIRs are lodged against her and her party colleagues. “Our fight will continue for the sake of common people. We will never step back,” she averred.
Reacting to the FIR lodged against her and the arrest of her party’s MPs, MLA and minister at Silchar, the Chief Minister said,“They keep lodging FIRs against us. It is interesting that I am sitting in Bengal and an FIR has been lodged in Assam…we don’t mind even if 1 lakh FIRs are lodged against us for fighting for the rights of common people.”
She maintained in the same breath, “ We are actually in a situation of super-emergency. There is no democracy in the country.”
Condemning the arrest of her party colleagues, the Chief Minister said, “ They went there for a better cause. My question is that if everything is normal and peaceful in Assam, then why has section 144 of Cr PC been imposed in all the districts? Why were they (TMC MPs, MLA and minister) stopped when two of them wanted to go ahead at a time instead of marching together in a group? They just wanted to go to the convention centre and return after speaking to some people there. ”
Ms Banerjee said she has spoken to Union Home minister Rajnath Singh during her visit to Delhi and the latter has assured her that there will be no harassment of common people.
“ My question is that then why have our MPs been harassed ? ” she asked. “Senior journalists are being beaten up,” she said, adding the Army personnel from Assam, who are deployed in borders, are also worried about their family members.
West Bengal Trinamool Congress minister Firhad Hakim, who was a part of the delegation, also made it clear in unequivocal terms that their fight cannot be quashed with force, and said,'Our MPs had gone to Silchar to be with the common people. Despite having all necessary documents, names of several people were not included in the NRC.'
'They went to study these incidents, so that they can make suggestions in Parliament to the Government to rectify the errors. The government would have got a chance to correct them, ' he stated.
'What happened in the airport was undemocratic. This is unimaginable in a democracy. How can they stop elected representatives from meeting people? India is for everyone. People are free to go to any part of the country. But the BJP Government in Assam has taken away that right. Imagine, if elected representatives are treated in this manner, what will happen to the lakhs of common people, small farmers, people who have to live away from their homes because of floods, those who cannot even speak properly, whose names have been excluded despite living here for half a century, families which have been excluded despite living here for centuries. Will they get a proper hearing? ' Mr Hakim questioned.
'Bengal is a land of communal harmony. Assam is the complete opposite. NRC is being done with ulterior communal motives. Names of over one lakh Nepalis have been omitted. Biharis have been excluded. This is not just a witch-hunt against Bengalis. Biharis, Bengalis, Nepalis, minorities – all are being targeted,' he pointed out.
'Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had sent this delegation to find out what has gone wrong, and make suggestions to the government. But the people have been deprived. We condemn this government. Our party is always with the people. We will continue to fight for them, under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee. We will protest against this incident. Our protest cannot be quashed by detaining us using force,' he asserted.
Meanwhile, a Guwahati report said West Bengal Trinamool Congress MLA Mahua Moitra, who allegedly assaulted an Assam Police woman constable at Kumbhirgram airport in Silchar in southern Assam yesterday, returned to Kolkata this morning with no formal complaint registered against her so far.
A top Assam Police source said no police complaint has been registered against the legislator.
"We are examing the case. The constables who were assaulted have to take the final call," the source added.Moitra was in the six-member TMC delegation of lawmakers that was sent back to Kolkata by a morning flight from Silchar today.
The WB legislator was caught on camera yesterday assaulting a woman constable at the Kumbhirgram airport when she was prevented from leaving the airport lounge.Two women constables and a Cachar district civil administration employee were injured in the scuffle with Moitra and other members of the TMC delegation, who tried to forcibly leave the airport.
An eight-member TMC delegation comprising a WB Cabinet minister, six MPs and one MLA had flown to Silchar for an on-ground assessment of the situation in Assam post-NRC final draft publication on July 30. However, they were prevented from leaving the airport as prohibitory orders were in place in Silchar and sent back today after being kept in preventive detention at the airport overnight.
While six members flew to Kolkata, the other two will go to New Delhi later in the day. The final draft of the updated National Register of Citizens for Assam was published on July 30, where names of 40 lakh applicants were excluded, who will be given opportunity to file claims and objections. (UNI)