Other States

Assam overshoots detention camp deadline

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The Assam Government has overshot a 45-day deadline set by the Gauhati High Court for the completion of a standalone detention centre for declared foreigners.

The court had on August 11 asked the State Government to complete the construction of the detention centre, now called transit camp, at Matia in western Assam’s Goalpara district and file a status report within 45 days.

The court had also sought the shifting of 177 inmates across six existing detention centres within as many central jails. These jails are in Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Jorhat, Kokrajhar, Silchar and Tezpur.

“The construction of the Matia facility is almost complete,” Manivannan S., the State’s Home Commissioner-Secretary told The Hindu.

Home and Political Department officials said the Government had sought some more time to complete the detention centre and the formalities associated with it.

Hearing a petition on the detention centres, Justice Kalyan Rai Surana had more than two months ago observed: “…The State envisaged that the construction of detention centre at Matia, Goalpara, would be completed by September 2021… the learned Advocate General has prayed for allowing six weeks’ time to the State to complete the construction of the proposed detention centre and to shift the detenues of the various detention centres...”

People adjudged non-citizens by the quasi-judicial Foreigners’ Tribunals are sent to detention centres. Such people are tried after the Assam police’s Border wing serve them notice on suspicion of being foreigners.

The six existing detention centres were set up in 2008. The Centre had in 2014 asked the States to set up at least one exclusive detention centre for foreigners or “illegal immigrants” in order not to mix them up with others serving time for various crimes.

Assam planned 10 separate detention centres in view of the number of people who would eventually be left out of the National Register of Citizens. The Matia centre, the first such being constructed on 25 acres at a cost of ₹64 crore, is designed for 3,000 inmates and would have a school and a hospital among other facilities.

On August 17, the State government issued a notification saying the “nomenclature of detention centre is changed to transit camp for detention purpose”. Officials said the change of name was a bid to humanise the centres.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 10:45:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-overshoots-detention-camp-deadline/article37147736.ece

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