50-yr-old man lodged in Assam detention centre dies, 29th death in 3 years
Naresh Koch, a daily wager from Tinkonia Para village, who belonged to the Koch community, was apprehended and taken to the Goalpara detention centre in March 2018. He was declared a foreigner in June 2017 by a foreigners tribunal.
A 50-year-old man, lodged in a detention centre in Assam’s Goalpara, died at a hospital on Friday, police said on Saturday. With this, 29 declared foreigners by the Foreigners’ Tribunal have died in detention centres in Assam in last three years, as per government records.
Sushanta Biswa Sarma, superintendent of Police, Goalpara said, “Naresh Koch who was about 50-year-old and a declared foreigner from Goalpara died on Friday at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital. He was admitted there after suffering a stroke ten days back. The dead body has been cremated.”
Ramen Talukdar, spokesperson of the GMCH said Koch died while he was under treatment. “He was shifted to the ICU,” Talukdar said.
Naresh Koch, a daily wager from Tinkonia Para village, who belonged to the Koch community, was apprehended and taken to the Goalpara detention centre in March 2018. He was declared a foreigner in June 2017 by a foreigners tribunal in an ex parte order after he failed to appear in front of the tribunal for four consecutive hearings.
Naresh’s family claims that his grandfather Harilal Koch had his name in the 1971 electoral rolls.
From 2016 to October 30, 2019, 28 detainees died either in the detention centres or in the hospitals where they were referred to, Nityanand Rai, minister of state in the ministry of home affairs told Parliament in November 2019.
In October, after a controversy where the family of Dulal Paul, a 65-year-old who died on October 13 after spending two years at a detention centre, refused to accept his body till he was declared an Indian citizen, Assam government appointed a committee headed by a deputy inspector general of police to review the conditions in the detention centres.
An official with direct knowledge of the developments said the committee is likely to submit its report later this month. The official said the committee is reviewing the conditions based on various parameters including health, living conditions and legal aid status.
A second official of the Assam Police said as many as 175 declared foreigners have so far been released on bail after the May 2019 Supreme Court order that said those who have spent three years or more in detention should be conditionally released.
Around 900 persons are presently in detention in six detention centres across the state -- at Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Silchar -- set up inside district jails between 2009 and 2015 on the direction of the Gauhati high court to house those declared foreigners by the 100 foreigners tribunals (FTs) in the state—till they are deported or released. An exclusive detention centre with a capacity to hold 3,000 persons is under construction at Matia in Goalpara.