No ‘exclusive’ detention centres, government tells Parliament
The government informed the Parliament on Tuesday that no detention centres have been built in Assam “exclusively” to detain those who do not have documents proving their citizenship under National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC).
Minister of state for home Nityanand Rai made the statement while replying to a question from MP Pradyut Bordoloi in Lok Sabha.
Opposition parties and students across the country have been protesting for over two months over the newly amended Citizenship act and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) alleging that the those who failed to prove their identity will be kept by the BJP government in the detention centres built across the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a rally in Delhi in December denied that any detention centres were being built. He also said that CAA and NRC have nothing to do with Indian Muslims and that lies were being spread by Congress, AAP and other parties.
In Assam, India’s biggest detention centre is nearing completion. Spread over 25 bighas of land, the detention centre, being constructed at a cost of Rs 46 crore, is located at Matia in Goalpara, 129 km from Guwahati, and will be able to house 3,000 inmates.
The Assam government expects construction of most of the housing quarters to be over by March after which inmates of other detention centres in the state would be shifted here initially.
Last year’s NRC in Assam excluded 1.9 million people from the final list. But they are not being kept in detention centres. They would have to approach Foreigners’ Tribunals to prove citizenship, and might be kept in detention centres if they fail to prove their citizenship.
Until November 2019, a total of 988 people were lodged in the six detention centres in Assam, according to state government records. While 957 of them were declared foreigners, 31 were children lodged along with their mothers.