- Derek O'Brien posted the video with two more party colleagues
- Trinamool leaders "will cooperate" with police, he said
- Trinamool leaders wanted to meet those affected by Sonbhadra shootout
A team of the Trinamool Congress, led by party leader Derek O' Brien, was stopped at the Varanasi airport this morning when they were on their way to meet those affected by the shootout in Sonbhadra earlier this week.
In a video message, Derek O'Brien said he and two of his party colleagues, Sunil Mondal, Abhir Ranjan Biswas, were stopped at the airport. "We told them we cannot be detained under section 144 as we are only three. We wish to head to the BHU Trauma Centre to meet the injured and then to Sonbhadra, " he said in the video.
Video message from Trinamool delegation who have been detained/arrested (they still haven't been told why!) at Varanasi airport tarmac. They were on their way to meet the injured in hospital and meet & give confidence to the grieving families in #Sonbhadra— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) July 20, 2019
The 58-year-old parliamentarian said the police officers, while stopping them at the airport, told the Trinamool leaders they were "doing as told from topmost". "Trinamool Parliam 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 & give confidence to grieving families - Derek (sic)," a tweet by the Trinamool Congress read .
The Trinamool Congress leaders were told they will be taken to an "air-conditioned" guest house, Derek O'Brien told NDTV. "We have been told we will be taken to an air-conditioned guest house in an undisclosed location. We don't want to go to any guest house. We want to meet the victims," he said.
The alleged detention of the Trinamool leaders comes a day after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi was stopped on her way to a village in Sonbhadra to meet the affected families. Earlier, reports had emerged that gatherings had been banned at the district. She spent the night at a guest house in Mirzapur. In a late-night meeting with top government officials, she told them she "won't leave without meeting the affected families".
Earlier this week, 10 people were killed and over 24 were injured in a village in Sonbhadra when a village chief, Yagya Dutt, and his associates, fired on a group of tribal farmers who had refused to give up 36 acres of land they had tilled for generations. Witnesses said Yagya Dutt on Wednesday had brought nearly 200 men on 32 tractor trolleys to seize the land. The men fired at the tribals for over half-an-hour in one of the most chilling incidents the country has seen in recent times.