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Security personnels deployed in the Shimultabu area near Kokrajhar along the Assam-West Bengal border on Friday.

GUWAHATI: A group of students travelling to the underconstruction detention camp at Matia of Goalpara were barred from entry into Assam at Shimultabu near Kokrajhar at about 2 pm along the Assam-West Bengal border on Friday.

Hundreds of security personnel were pressed into action to restrict the entry of the group which included Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey.

The prohibotory restriction from entry into Assam was imposed based on orders of the District Magistrate, Kokrajhar,Partha P. Majumdar.

“Whereas it has been made to appear before me that there is apprehension of breach of peace and tranquility in the District if the proposed ‘Yatra’ by the activists may impact the prevailing law and order situation and whereas I am satisfied that there are suffucient grounds for drawing up a proceeding under section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code,1973 for immediate prevention of breach of public peace and tranquility” the order read .

The group, consisting of members of the Socialist Party India, Khudai Khidmatgaar, Justice Forum Assam, National Alliance of People’s Movement, Jamia Coordination Committee among others were travelling by bus (bearing registration number UP-17AT 1036) were halted by a team of security personnel, who did not let them cross the border, leaving them stranded at the Srirampur Gate.

The activists as a mark of protest and spread the message of communal harmony recited the classical number of Mohammed Rafi ‘Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalmaan Banega’ m

“If they do not let us go, we will have no option but to return back…what to do”, said Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey.

National Alliance of People’s Movement activist, Faisal Khan lamenting the restriction in entry stated that the group was on a visit to the detention camp not for any protest or movement but with the sole purpose to inspect it. Later the group after waiting for nearly an hour returned back .

A tweet sent out from the official account of the Jamia Coordination Committee reads, “This is How a Peace Yatra in Assam is welcomed. Delhi to Detention Yatra is reaching Assam Border and this is the Number of Police Force welcoming them. Yes, this is New India, where u need permission to enter Assam.”

Sources said the group were on their way to the underconstruction stand alone detention camp of Matia in Goalpara district to refute the claims of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had made the claim that there are no detention camp in the country.

The group started their journey on February 23 from Rajghat in New Delhi .

The underconstruction detention camp in Matia of Goalpara is the country’s first standalone foreigner detention centre, a massive infrastructure with a capacity to house 3000 inmates .

Matia is 30km west of Goalpara town and 129km west of state capital Guwahati.

There are six detention camps in Assam housed in existing jail premises but this is the only standalone facility in the state and the largest in the country.

Shajid Khan is an independent journalist based in Assam whose works have been published in The New York Times,TheTelegraph,FirstPost among other leading national and international publications. He can be reached at itsshajidkhan@gmail.com


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