As Assam readies to publish National Register of Citizens, Centre sanctions funds for a new detention centre for immigrants

The move assumes significance given that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being updated in the state to detect the illegal immigrants.

Published: 21st July 2018 05:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2018 05:06 PM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Finally, Assam is getting a separate detention centre for illegal immigrants.

The Narendra Modi government has sanctioned Rs.46 crore to the Assam government for the construction of an “independent” detention centre. According to official sources, it will be constructed in Lower Assam’s Goalpara.

It assumes significance given that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being updated in the state to detect the illegal immigrants. The NRC “complete draft” is due for publication on July 30.

Currently, there are six detention centres in the state. These are separate cells within district jails. However, the proposed detention centre in Goalpara will be an isolated one, not within the premises of a jail.

Allegations galore the existing detention centres do not have sufficient space and they are virtual shambles. Some 1,000 people, suspected of being illegal immigrants, are cooling their heels there. 

“We proposed to the Union government to create a separate detention centre. We got a sanction of Rs.46 crore. Once it is built, the immigrants, who are lodged in the detention centres, will be shifted. It will be able to house a maximum of 3,000 inmates,” Assam’s principal secretary (home), LS Changsan, told TNIE.

Once the NRC complete draft is published, people, whose names will not figure in it, will get a window period of one month to file claims and objections before a foreigners’ tribunal, she said.

“If people’s names are not there in NRC, they can fight their cases in the foreigners’ tribunals. Whether a person is an Indian or an immigrant will be determined there. Then, as per standing instructions, until deportation, the person’s movement will be restricted and he will be kept in a detention centre… 

“The fate of those found to be foreigners after the entire exercise will be a longer-term perspective. This is under consideration. The Central government is examining this. After all, it is a Union subject. The Union government must be examining this. I think the government will come up with a policy. However, we have not yet reached that stage. Let the NRC complete draft be published. Now, it will be premature to say about the fate of the immigrants,” Changsan added.

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