Six among 37 men of Indian origin held at an El Paso, Texas, detention centre were said to have been hospitalised after one week of hunger strike in protest against their treatment by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

The North American Punjabi Association, a non-profit group that has been attempting to provide the detainees with legal and other support, said in a statement that although most of the remaining hunger strikers ended their protest on Monday, one among them, Harmandeep Singh, was “admitted in the hospital outside the jail for treatment.”

It added that five other detainees including Paritpal Singh Koharh, Boota Singh, and Mandeep Grewal had been “admitted in the hospital inside the prison.”

NAPA Executive Director Satnam Singh Chahal said the authorities in the ICE Processing Centre had transferred five detainees to a barracks called “LO-AHA,” which was said to be “a room 5 feet x 10 feet, consisting of a toilet and a bed where normally criminal-type prisoners are detained.”

No details on charges

Earlier, a spokesperson for the centre, Leticia Zamarripa, told The Hindu that although she was able to confirm that 37 men were on hunger strike, she was not able to provide any further details of their detention, how long they had been protesting in this manner, what measures the ICE had taken in this regard, how long they had been detained there, how many of them were there, whether they had been formally charged and what legal remedies they could hope for.