India

TMC delegation en route Sonbhadra to meet victims' families stopped at Varanasi airport

Three members of the Trinamool Congress delegation which was going to Sonbhadra to meet the families of 10 people who were killed in firing this week were detained at Varanasi airport on Saturday. 

"Trinamool Parliamentary delegation detained at Varanasi airport. ADM, SP have not told us under which section. (“Doing as told from topmost”). We have told them that we will cooperate, wish to meet injured &then proceed to Sonbhadra to meet and give confidence to grieving families," Derek O'Brien who was part of the TMC's parliamentary delegation said. 

The TMC had announced in New Delhi on Friday that it planned to send a delegation to Sonbhadra on Saturday.

The three members of the delegation which included TMC MPs Abir Ranjan Biswas and Sunil Mondal were stopped at Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport in Varanasi as soon as they landed there on their way to Sonbhadra. 

In a video message posted on TMC's Twitter account, O'Brien said they wanted to meet those admitted in Banaras Hindu University's Sir Sunderlal Hospital. He claimed that they could not be stopped under Section 144 as the delegation only has three members. 

Section 144 prohibits an assembly of more than four persons in an area. 

"Restrained without any reason. From 9.45 this morning they are sitting on dharna just off the tarmac. Delegation have not been allowed to visit hospital or proceed to Sonbhadra," TMC said on Twitter, sharing images of the three MPs at the airport. 

This comes even as Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra continued her overnight 'dharna' at a guest house in Mirzapur's Chunar after being stopped from visiting the families of the victims of July 17 incident. 

She was on Friday detained on her way to meet the kin of those killed in the July 17 Sonbhadra firing incident citing imposition of Section 144 in the area, triggering a standoff with the BJP-led state government. She was escorted to Mirzapur by Uttar Pradesh Police from Varanasi.

Early morning visuals from Chunar Guest House near in Mirzapur near Varanasi showed that Congress workers, along with the party general secretary continued their overnight 'dharna'.  

"It has been 24 hours. I am not going to leave until and unless I am allowed to meet the victims of Sonbhadra's firing case," she told reporters as she sat on 'dharna' at Chunar Guest House surrounded by her security personnel, Congress workers and cops. 

She spent the night the guest house which was without power and water. The Congress claimed that electricity and water supply to the guest house were cut off as it accused Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of running 'jungle raj' in the state. 

Vadra on Friday earlier said that she was ready to go to jail if the government puts her inside the prison for meeting kin of the victims.

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