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Camps in Bengal for arrested foreigners

Two detention camps will be set up in the state; govt says move not part of NRC

Published: 16th November 2019 09:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th November 2019 09:03 AM   |  A+A-

Handcuffs, arrest

Image used for representation purpose only

By Express News Service

KOLKATA: The West Bengal government has decided to set up two detention camps in south Bengal to hold foreigners arrested on various charges.While land in Kolkata’s adjoining New Town area has been identified for setting up a camp and the other one is likely to be set up at Bongaon near India-Bangladesh
border in North 24-Parganas.

The state government, however, said the decision was not linked to National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“The detention camps have nothing to do with the NRC. It will be for foreign nationals but is not a part of NRC exercise. The decision was taken on the directives of the Supreme Court to keep foreign nationals separately, in accordance with international norms,’’ said correctional services minister Ujjwal Biswas.
BJP leaders, both national and at state level, have said repeatedly that the NRC would be exercised in Bengal if the party came to power in the state, triggering fear among the people across
the state.

In retaliation, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that she would never allow the NRC exercise in the state. According to records available with the correctional home services department, around 200 foreign nationals, mostly Bangladeshi’s and from African nations, who were booked under various charges, are presently lodged in different correctional homes.

“Presently, we keep foreign nationals who were arrested on criminal charges in different correctional homes with native inmates. This creates several problems due to different language and cultural values. So we have decided to follow the Apex court’s directive,’’ said an official.He further went on to say that many foreign nationals were arrested for illegal entry into Indian territory. Some were repatriated to their countries after a certain period.

Suitable land for camps identified
Land in Kolkata’s adjoining New Town area has been identified for setting up a camp and the other one is likely to be set up at Bongaon near India-Bangladesh border in North 24-Parganas.

Both camps in no way linked to NRC: Govt
The state government, however, confirmed that the decision to set up the detention camps is in no way linked to the controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC).

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