Mahua, Derek & Abhishek detained at MGNREGA protest in Delhi

| Updated: 04 October, 2023 3:02 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders Abhishek Banerjee, Mahua Moitra, and Derek O’Brien were detained by Delhi Police on Tuesday while protesting against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government’s alleged delay in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) funds.

The TMC leaders were protesting at Jantar Mantar when they were detained and taken to Utsav Sadan in Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar.

The detention came after the TMC leaders were denied a meeting with Minister of State for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti even as BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari secured a meeting with her and demanded strict action against “fake job card holders”.

The TMC leaders accused the Delhi Police of manhandling them and dragging them away from the protest site.

“They dragged the ministers. The minister made us wait for three hours at her office while not giving us a time of day. While detaining our leaders, the Delhi Police manhandled us from our peaceful protest and put us inside these buses,” Moitra told The New Indian.

The TMC has been alleging that the central government is delaying MGNREGA and PMAY funds to West Bengal as a political vendetta. The central government has denied the allegations.

The detention of the TMC leaders has drawn criticism from opposition parties. TMC MP Saket Gokhale accused the Centre of attacking the democratic fabric of Indian society and not allowing peaceful protests.

“After inviting us & keeping us waiting for 3 hours, MoS Sadhvi Niranjan quietly slipped out of her office without a meeting. When we protested, Delhi Police, CISF, & RAF manhandled the entire delegation & everyone is now under detention,” he tweeted.

The TMC leaders were released from detention later in the evening.

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