Agartala/Kolkata, August 11
A case has been registered in Tripura against TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, MP Dola Sen, West Bengal education minister Bratya Basu and other senior leaders of the party for allegedly obstructing police officers from performing their duties.
Kiran Kumar, the Superintendent of Police (SP) in Khowai district, said a suo moto complaint was filed on Tuesday against the TMC leaders, who had “misbehaved” with officers on duty on August 8.
“We booked them on August 10 under Section 186 (obstruction of public servants in the discharge of his public function) and 36 (common intention) of the IPC. The FIR pertains to their entry into the Khowai police station… They will be summoned,” the SP stated.
Claiming that the ruling BJP in Tripura was “scared” of his camp’s growing popularity, TMC’s Bengal general secretary Kunal Ghosh, who figures in the list of leaders booked by the police, told reporters in Kolkata, “A case has been wrongfully registered against us. We went there to stand by our party workers. ”
“We have the right to arrange for legal defence for our party activists, which was denied to them by the Biplab Deb regime in Tripura. Seeking democratic rights peacefully cannot be equated with obstructing government servants,” Ghosh added.
At least 14 leaders and workers of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) were arrested in Khowai district on Sunday, including those injured in an alleged attack by BJP men the day before, for “flouting Covid norms”.
Shortly after, Banerjee, who is also West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and the de facto number 2 in the party, flew to Agartala from Bengal to meet the apprehended workers in Khowai police station, along with other leaders.
Those arrested were later produced before a local court, which granted them bail.
According to the police, the 14 TMC members were nabbed for venturing out after the imposition of night curfew at 7 pm, in violation of the COVID-19 restrictions.
In a video that went viral on social media, the TMC national general secretary was seen raising his finger to enquire why his supporters were arrested “after having faced assaults”.
He returned to Kolkata the same day after his party workers were released on bail.
The Diamond Harbour MP, taking to Twitter, said he was bringing with him to Kolkata the injured party workers, who were “denied medical attention” in Tripura.
“Bail granted to all @AITCofficial workers who were arrested in Tripura. Satyameva Jayate! I’ll be taking them to Kolkata as they have sustained severe injuries amp; were denied medical attention. @BjpBiplab you can keep trying but all your resources will fall short! MARK MY WORDS,” Banerjee tweeted just before flying out of Agartala.
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, who paid a visit to the injured workers in Kolkata’s SSKM hospital, further claimed that the arrested activists were not given basic aid and water for several hours.
Earlier this month, the Diamond Harbour MP’s convoy had come under attack during his visit to Tripureshwari temple in Gomati district of the northeastern state.
Subal Bhowmik, a leader of the party from Tripura whose name also figures in the FIR, claimed that activists were being harassed and falsely accused of crimes they did not commit.
“We didn’t obstruct any police officer from performing their job. It was only after 48 hours they decided to book us under section 186. These allegations are devoid of truth and the police administration is being misused for political gains,” Bhowmik added.
Upbeat over its astounding performance in West Bengal assembly polls, the TMC recently announced that it would expand its footprint and enter national politics ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The party had been trying to gain its foothold in BJP-ruled Tripura, where state elections are scheduled to be held in the first half of 2023.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA and leader of opposition in Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari dismissed the TMC supremo’s allegations that they were denied basic medical aid and water, stating that the charges were “baseless” and she should be getting the “highest award for falsehood”.
“Hereby refuting baseless allegation of the TMC Supremo that her assets weren’t even provided a glass of water in Tripura. Would request her to accord herself the prestigious Mithya-Shree Award (award for lies). Please accept this request amp; kindly make us feel obliged,” Adhikari tweeted. PTI