31 declared foreigners died in detention centres from 2016 to 2021: Assam govt

Updated on Mar 29, 2022 04:50 PM IST

The Assam government has said that 185 declared foreigners are still in detention centres in the state while 1,047 are out on bail and they are taking legal recourse to prove their citizenship in foreigners tribunals (FTs).

The foreigners tribunal courts in Assam have issued notices to 19,358 persons between May 1, 2021 and February 28, 2022 asking them to prove their citizenship by appearing before the court. (File)
The foreigners tribunal courts in Assam have issued notices to 19,358 persons between May 1, 2021 and February 28, 2022 asking them to prove their citizenship by appearing before the court. (File)
ByBiswa Kalyan Purkayastha

SILCHAR: A total of 31 persons who were declared foreigners have died in Assam’s six detention centres between 2016 and 2022, according to a statement by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma made in the state assembly.

He also said that 185 declared foreigners are still in detention centres while 1,047 are out on bail and they are taking legal recourse to prove their citizenship in foreigners tribunals (FTs).

Replying to a question by Congress MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha regarding the deaths inside detention centers in the ongoing assembly session, Sarma said that there are six detention centres across Assam and till date, 31 persons have died due to illness.

A total of 14 persons died in Goalpara detention camp while 9 died in Tezpur, 4 in Silchar, 3 in Kokrajhar and 1 in Jorhat. The first death was registered in Silchar detention centre. On March 17, 2016, when a 79-year-old resident of Hailakandi district, who was arrested on October 5, 2015, died due to illness.

So far, the last death in detention centre was registered in Silchar. On January 11, 2022, 60-year-old Jamal Uddin died due to illness. Jamal Uddin was a resident of Bangladesh’s Sylhet and his dead body was sent back to his country later.

The oldest person to die inside detention centres was Rashid Ali who died at the age of 86 in Jorhat on November 22, 2017. While the youngest person who died inside the detention camp was 35-year-old Dulal Miya, a resident of Bangladesh’s Samarganj.

Replying to another question of Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha, chief minister said that foreigners tribunal courts have issued notices to 19,358 persons between May 1, 2021 and February 28, 2022 asking them to prove their Indian identity by appearing before the court.

Sarma shared the district-wise data which shows that the highest number of notices were issued in Guwahati City while Cachar district comes second in the list. 2,660 notices were issued in FTs in Guwahati City while 2438 notices were issued by FTs in Cachar.

No notice was issued by FTs in Sadiya and Tinsukia districts while Jorhat FTs issued only 7 notices between May 2021 and February 2022, according to the Assam government.

The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA from Chenga assembly constituency, Ashraful Hussain placed questions regarding the number of cases disposed by foreigners tribunals.

Replying to that, Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also holds the ministry of home and political department, said that as of January 31, 2022, a total of 1,22,622 cases have been disposed by tribunal courts in Assam. 1,44,077 persons have been declared as foreigners but the government doesn’t have information on how many of the orders/opinions were ex-parte (one sided judgement).

According to home and political department of Assam, there are 100 numbers of foreigners tribunal functioning in the state. Initially, 11 illegal migrant determination tribunals (IMDT) were functioning. After the repeal of IMDT Act in 2005, the government of Assam established 21 new FTs in the same year. In 2009, another 4 FTs were established. In 2014, an additional 64 FTs were included for disposal of pending cases.

Judges and advocates were appointed as the members of FT under the Foreigners Tribunal Act, 1941 and Foreigners Tribunal ORDER 1964 as per the guidelines issued by the central government.

On September 23, 1964, the Foreigners (Tribunal) Order was enacted by the Centre in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Foreigners Act, 1946.

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