NEW DELHI: Detention centres are “not at all connected with National Register of Citizens (NRC)” and were set up in different parts of the country in full compliance with the law and with the cognizance of the Supreme Court, government sources said on Thursday.
Detention centres or holding centres or camps are confinement centres where foreign nationals are confined pending nationality verification and issuance of travel documents by the governments concerned and their deportation to their native countries, said sources, aiming to allay fears.
Such detention centres were in existence in various states for the last few decades and the setting up of such centres was not at all connected with the NRC, the sources said.
They added that foreigners confined in detention centres are not subjected to strict prison regimes applicable to under trial and convicted prisoners and basic facilities of electricity, water and hygiene are available.
This clarification came nearly a week after PM Narendra Modi announced that there were no DCs in the country.
Sources said instructions regarding restricting the movements of such foreign nationals, who are awaiting deportation in one of the detention centres or camps, have been issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to the states and UTs since July, 1998 to ensure their physical availability at all times for expeditious deportation as soon as their travel documents are ready.
It is the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 which empowers the Centre to restrict a foreigner to reside at a particular place and enables Centre to deport such foreigners, who had entered the country without a valid passport or other travel documents.
Sources said instructions regarding restricting the movement of such nationals were reiterated on November 23, 2009, March 7, 2012, April 29, 2014, September 10, 2014 and September 7, 2018.
The instructions issued on March 7, 2012 were in pursuance of a Supreme Court order of February 28, 2012. In Assam, where NRC was completed earlier this year, the Centre had been earmarking portions of jails as detention centres over the last few decades, depending on requirements.
DCs or holding centres or camps for foreign nationals are in existence in Assam (in the district jails of Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Tezpur, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Silchar), Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat (Bhuj) and Tamil Nadu.