Meer Waiz detained as deportation order is yet to be issued

An Afghanistan national, who completed his prison term in the Central Jail in Jodhpur on October 10 last, is awaiting his release at a detention centre at Alwar in Rajasthan. He cannot return home because no deportation order from the Union Ministries of Home Affairs and External Affairs has been received.

Meer Waiz was shifted to the ‘deportation centre,’ an annexe of the Alwar district jail building, shortly after he completed his sentence. He was taken into custody, after his term ended, under Section 109 (security for good behaviour) of the Criminal Procedure Code as he did not have visa or valid papers.

Though the Jodhpur Jail Superintendent wrote to the Rajasthan Home Department in July last, three months before Meer Waiz’s term ended, asking that the deportation process be initiated, the formalities are yet to be completed. The Alwar Prison Superintendent has also sought directions for further action.

Director-General (Jails) Omendra Bharadwaj told The Hindu here on Friday that the State government had to wait for orders from the Centre in deportation cases. “Such prisoners are technically in police custody. We are providing them with facilities for safe stay and giving them food and clothes.”

Foreign convicts from all the jails in Rajasthan are sent to the Alwar deportation centre after they complete their sentence. “The deportation centre was constructed adjacent to the district jail long ago. A similar facility, which existed in Dholpur, has since been wound up,” Mr. Bharadwaj said.

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has represented Meer Waiz’s case to the Ministries of Home and External Affairs and the National Human Rights Commission, seeking that the deportation order be issued at the earliest.

CHRI project officer (prison reforms programme) Anisha Joseph told The Hindu from New Delhi that the Afghanistan embassy in India had taken up the matter with the External Affairs Ministry eight months before Meer Waiz’s release and followed it up with several letters and calls.

“It is regrettable that Meer Waiz, son of Naseem Gul, has been languishing in the deportation centre, which is not much different from a jail, for no fault of his, though he was eligible for release on October 10, 2012,” Ms. Joseph said. On the CHRI’s representation, the NHRC recently issued notice, returnable in four weeks.

Ms. Joseph said the process for deportation of foreign nationals should be initiated three to six months before their release. This would help to protect their human rights by sending them home on the same day of release and ensure they did not have to undergo another term in captivity.

Mr. Bharadwaj said most of the detainees at the Alwar centre were Bangladeshis arrested on the charge of illegally crossing over to India.

A similar case came to light last year. Mohammed Taqi Naqvi, an elderly Pakistani prisoner suffering from diabetes and heart ailments, spent two years in Indian jails, after being convicted of carrying counterfeit Indian currency. At the end of his term, he was shifted to the Alwar deportation centre, where he spent a month before his deportation.

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