Assam’s detention camps for foreigners are currently housing 22 children, 20 of them below 14 years of age, the 126-member State Assembly was told on Monday.
Replying to a question from Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the children are with nine women convicted as foreigners, distributed among the Kokrajhar, Tezpur and Silchar detention camps.
The Chief Minister holds the Home portfolio.
The State has six detention camps for foreigners and they currently have 181 inmates, 61 of whom are declared foreign nationals and 121 convicted foreign nationals awaiting deportation, Dr. Sarma said. The women are in the latter category.
Replying to another question by All India United Democratic Front MLA Nazrul Hoque, the Chief Minister said 2,551 people were sent to the detention camps from December 29, 2009, to June 30, 2021, after they were declared non-citizens by various Foreigners’ Tribunals. The first detention camp inmate was Krishna Biswas of Goalpara district, he said.
The Chief Minister said 29 declared foreigners have died in the detention camps since 2009 while many were granted bail over the years. “According to a Supreme Court order on May 10, 2019, seeking the release of declared foreigners after three years in detention, 273 were released. Similarly, 481 others were released after another Supreme Court order on April 13, 2020, reducing the detention period to two years,” Dr. Sarma said.
The Foreigners’ Tribunals have so far disposed of 2,98,471 cases of people identified as foreigners and 1,36,173 such cases are pending, the Assembly was told. Of the cases disposed of, 1,18,616 were found to be Indians.
The Chief Minister also outlined the status of the National Register of Citizens in a reply to a question from Congress MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha.
“About 99.65% scanning of the speaking orders has been done at the district level while 86.17% quality checking of the speaking orders has been completed,” he said.
A speaking order, spelling out the reasons for rejection, is to be sent with the rejection slip to 19.06 lakh people who have been left out of the complete NRC draft published on August 31, 2019. “Issuing of rejection slips is in the jurisdiction of the SC and the Registrar General of India, which has not yet declared the draft NRC as the final list,” the CM said.