Tripura police on Sunday arrested actor-turned Trinamool Congress leader Sayani Ghosh on charges of attempt to murder after she allegedly disrupted a meeting of state Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb by shouting ‘Khela hobe’ (We will play) on Saturday night.
TMC workers also alleged that they were attacked by unknown people whom they suspect to be BJP supporters.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her nephew and party national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee will reach Agartala on Monday to stand with their colleagues.
Over 15 TMC MPs on Sunday night took a flight to Delhi, seeking an appointment with Union Minister Amit Shah to discuss the violence in Tripura. The party has said that it will stage a dharna in the national capital on Monday.
Police sources said even though Abhishek plans to hold a rally in Agartala, he has been disallowed in view of “prevailing Covid norms.”
Ghosh, the youth unit secretary of TMC West Bengal, was arrested after being called in for questioning in a police station in Agartala, a police official said. She was accompanied to the station by other leaders including MP Sushmita Dev, Kunal Ghosh and Subal Bhowmik. The TMC leaders have alleged that all of them were attacked inside the East Agartala women police station.
The BJP, however, has denied the allegations and said that Ghosh had disrupted a public meeting held by chief minister Deb by hurling stones and abuses at him.
The police, however, admitted that a few unidentified people did attack the group of TMC members gathered near the police station when Ghosh was brought in for questioning. None was injured in the incident.
However, TMC officials claimed the attackers were affiliated to the ruling BJP and their workers sustained severe injuries. “Gujarat model in Tripura. All India Trinamool Congress will never accept such fascist brutality. Trinamool MPs headed to Delhi. Now. Eyeball to eyeball,” tweeted party MP Derek O Brien.
Sub-divisional Police Officer (Sadar) Ramesh Yadav said Ghosh was arrested under IPC Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 153A (promoting disharmony between two groups) for her comments against the chief minister.
Ghosh has been charged with non-bailable sections.
Protesting against the arrest of Ghosh, Abhishek Banerjee tweeted, “@BjpBiplab has become so UNABASHEDLY BRAZEN that now even SUPREME COURT ORDERS DOESN’T SEEM TO BOTHER HIM. He has repeatedly sent goons to attack our supporters & our female candidates instead of ensuring their safety! DEMOCRACY BEING MOCKED under @BJP4Tripura. #NotMyINDIA.”
The Trinamool Congress is locked in a charged political battle in trying to gain a foothold in the Northeasern state ahead of the 2023 assembly elections. As a prelude it plans to contest the civic polls to be held on November 25.
“Our National Gen Secy Shri @abhishekaitc will reach Tripura tomorrow morning to stand beside our workers who were BRUTALLY ATTACKED by BJP goons. Permission to land today was denied. An autocrat is running the show in Tripura and we will fight tooth & nail to end this torture!” the party said in a Twitter post.
The TMC had earlier said Banerjee, in a change of the scheduled programme, will reach Agartala on Sunday itself. Abhishek Banerjee in a tweet accused the BJP government in the north-eastern state of disregarding Supreme Court orders on the rights of political parties to hold peaceful programmes.
The Supreme Court recently directed Tripura police to ensure that no political party is prevented from exercising their rights in accordance with the law for campaigning in a peaceful manner.
(With inputs from agencies)