The government cited prohibitory orders as the ground behind the cancellation of the visit
Kolkata: In what may please Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal's ruling Trinamul Congress, which used to go on warpath on issues against BJP at the Centre till recently, prevented its MP delegation on Monday from flying to Nagaland to fish in troubled waters over the killings of civilians by the Indian Army in a botched operation.
Citing prohibitory orders as the ground behind the cancellation of the visit, the party of chief minister Mamata Banerjee also stopped short of calling for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). In the morning two Rajya Sabha MPs, Santanu Sen and Susmita Dev, and two Lok Sabha MPs, Prasun Banerjee and Aparupa Poddar, of the TMC reached the Kolkata Airport.
Dr Sen said, "I along with them and our party leader Bishwajit Deb were scheduled to catch a flight at 12.05 pm to stand by the victims' kin. Our security check was done. We reached the boarding gate also. Suddenly we got information from our party leadership that the situation in Nagaland is volatile. Prohibitory orders have been issued there. The Assam government would allow us to leave Jorhat Airport once we land there to travel 75 kms by road to Nagaland. They would blame us for trying to play politics and disturb the law and order situation. We would not give the BJP a chance to play the blame game. On our party's instruction, we are returning."
Asked if TMC wants repeal of the AFSPA, Ms Dev said, "AFSPA is a very sensitive matter which has become more controversial now. It is a question of national security versus internal security. There is a process which the central government follows while imposing and withdrawing AFSPA. Union home minister Amit Shah should convene a meeting with all N-E states' CMs to take a decision on this. No N-E states want it. But how can we take a stand on AFSPA as a party here when we are not privy to national and internal security?"
The quiet change in stance of the TMC came close on the heels of Ms Banerjee's bonhomie with Mr Modi, her offensive against the Congress and ahead of her proposed participation in Vijay Diwas celebration to be organised by the Eastern Command of the Army in Kolkata.