Kerala plans detention centre

K.S. Sudhi KOCHI 27 December 2019 01:11 IST
Updated: 27 December 2019 14:11 IST

Will hold a headcount of imprisoned foreigners

Kerala will hold a headcount of foreigners imprisoned here to identify a building to set up a Foreigners’ Detention Centre as the controversy over such centres is raging countrywide.

The Department of Social Justice (DSJ), Kerala, which has been entrusted with the task of setting up the facility, has been awaiting the data on foreigners, who have been either convicted here or waiting to be extradited for various offences, for setting up the facility.

The department can scout for a building for the facility only after getting an idea of the requirement. Currently, no buildings of the department are available. Either new buildings would have to be taken on rent or constructed and the likely number of inmates was required for the purpose, said a senior Government official.


New detention facility
  • Department of Social Justice has been entrusted with the task of setting up the facility
  • Department seeks details of imprisoned foreigners from SCRB
  • The Centre will house those who have illegally entered the country.
  • It will house foreigners whose visa and passport have expired.
  • It will also house under-trial prisoners of foreign origin.
  • Foreigner convicts who have completed jail term here and awaitinf deportation will also be lodged in this facility.

The department had been unsuccessfully writing to the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) since June this year asking for the number of foreigners for identifying suitable buildings to house them. It was on November 26, this year that the latest reminder seeking the data was send to the SCRB, Government sources said.

The setting up of the detention centres in Assam and some other States had invited severe criticism during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Centre had earlier this year written to State Governments and Union Territories for “setting up of detention/holding centres in various States/UTs for restricting the movement of illegal immigrants/foreign nationals awaiting deportation.” It had also “prepared a Model Detention Centre Manual and circulated the same to all State Governments/UT Administrations” in January this year, according to information available on the Rajya Sabha website.

The Home Department has asked the DSJ to set up suitable facility outside the prison premises and Police Department. It was also informed that a separate dispensation should be created for manning the facility as the Police Department was facing acute shortage of staff.

The centre was meant for housing those who have illegally entered the country and those foreigners whose visa and passport have expired. The under-trial prisoners of foreign origin and those who have completed their jail term here and awaiting deportation may also be shifted to the facility, said the official privy to the developments.

The department is yet to receive any funds from the Central government to set up the centre. However, the funds available with the State government could be used for the purpose, the official said.

Those at the SCRB, when contacted, said no data on incarcerated foreigners was available in its dossiers.