NEW DELHI: As many as 63,959 people have been declared foreigners in Assam from 1985 to February 2019 through ex parte judgments by Foreigners Tribunals functioning in the state, the centre said in the parliament on Tuesday. Through ex-parte judgments, tribunals give their verdicts against persons accused of doubtful citizenship without their physical presence in the courts.
On the basis of the tribunal’s ruling, the accused person can be taken into custody by the state border police and put in one of the six detention centres housed within district jails in Assam. Such centres became operational in the state in 2009 after the Gauhati high court asked the state government to detain those declared foreigners in the state to prevent them from fleeing.
Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy revealed the figures in Lok Sabha while responding to a question by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. Reddy also said that as of June 26, 2019, there are 1,133 detainees in the state’s detention centres. Of those, 769 persons have been in detention for more than a year and 335 for more than three.
The SC heard a petition seeking the release of those detained in centres for a longer period without any certainty of their deportation. The court asked the government to release those who have been incarcerated for more than three years on producing two Indian sureties of Rs 1 lakh each and consent to appear before the local post office every month, among other conditions. The matter is pending before the court.