The central government has sanctioned the first stand-alone detention camp for foreigners in Assam. The facility will be set up in Goalpara district over a period of one year and at a cost of Rs 46 crore.
LS Changsan, the principal secretary of Assam home and political department to media “This will be the first stand-alone detention camp with capacity of 3,500 persons.”
Currently, there are six detention camps operating in the state but these are operating within jail premises and have around 1,000 detainees.
There were recent protests organised by groups demanding the closure of the existing detention camps in Assam.
Opposition party Congress has raised voice for allowing legal assistance to detainees lodged in these camps so that they are able to prove their citizenship.
“Most of the time it has been found that these poor and illiterate persons were not aware of the fact that they had to physically appear before the foreigner tribunals on time when they were summoned. As a result they were declared foreigners. There are allegations that these people are then dragged to detention camps. Recent incidents like 102-year old Chandradhar Das and Anna Bala Ray are really unfortunate and painful,” said a congress leader.
A 50-year-old Anna Bala Ray, who is a woman from Chirang district, is among those who have been detained and put in one of these detention camps. Ray was eventually released on bail after her family submitted a petition to the tribunal, requesting for an opportunity to prove her citizenship.