'Black day' for Indian democracy: TMC's Abhishek Banerjee after release from detention
The Delhi Police had detained around 30 leaders of the TMC on Tuesday during their protest demanding the release of MGNREGA funds.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) general secretary Abhishek Banerjee has said that today is a "black day for Indian democracy" after he and other party leaders including Derek O'Brien and Mahua Moitra were released by the police on the intervention night of Tuesday and Wednesday, nearly three hours after being detained during a sit-in at Krishi Bhawan in Delhi.
Speaking to the media after his release from the brief detention, Banerjee said, “You (BJP) are snatching away the rights of the people of West Bengal because you lost in the state. BJP has lost all elections in West Bengal, that is why they have stopped the money of the people.”
The TMC leader has called for a campaign 'Raj Bhavan Abhiyan' in Kolkata on Thursday against the atrocity. "Will carry out a campaign 'Raj Bhavan Abhiyan' against manhandling done by Police, on October 5 at 3 pm with 1 lakh people at Raj Bhavan. Will also meet the Governor and hand over the 50 lakh letters to him," Banerjee said.
While accusing the Delhi Police of manhandling the MPs and MLAs including women, Banerjee said that the incident will stand as an example of 'New India' as public representatives were "dragged and manhandled" by Delhi Police and journalists questioning the government were booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
"The way Delhi Police officials behaved today... MPs were pulled by their hair and dragged out. An MP is elected by lakhs of people. BJP's Zamindar in Raj Bhavan is nominated. Dragging and manhandling them... Mahua Moitra, Dola Sen, the way they were grabbed by their hands and legs and dragged into police vans, people will reply to it," he said.
Further challenging the ruling BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Banerjee said, "In the next six months people will teach you a lesson. People of the country will exercise their power and today's event will remain a black day. Even the British did not behave so badly as the Delhi Police did today."
"Journalists are being booked under different sections, public representatives are being manhandled, corrupt people are being inducted and their sins are being washed away and the rapists of Bilkis Bano are being honoured," he further said.
The Delhi Police had detained around 30 leaders of the TMC on Tuesday during their protest demanding the release of MGNREGA funds. The TMC delegation, led by Abhishek Banerjee, along with party lawmakers, has been stationed in the national capital since Monday. They held a two-hour dharna at the Rajghat on Gandhi Jayanti before being evicted by the police.
On Tuesday, they staged a protest at Jantar Mantar and later took out a march to the Rural Development Ministry at the Krishi Bhawan, where they had an appointment with Minister of State Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti.
However, TMC leaders claimed that the minister refused to meet them after a wait of one-and-a-half hours saying she would not meet more than five representatives. The TMC leaders, who had brought bundles of letters addressed to the prime minister and the rural development minister, refused to leave till Jyoti met them.
"She met BJP leaders and made us wait. At 8.30 pm, she left through the back door," he said, adding that the Centre should provide "papers" related to the scam they have alleged.
The protest continued till 9pm, after which they were detained by the police and evicted from the ministry premises. The TMC leaders were taken to Utsav Sadan in Delhi's Mukherjee Nagar. “Over two dozen TMC supporters detained, including Abhishek Banerjee and Derek O’Brien”, said a senior police officer.
(With inputs from agencies)