In a shocking admission made before the Lok Sabha, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has revealed that Karnataka is in the process of setting up a detention center for illegal immigrants in the state. The submission was made is response to questions raised by BJP MP PC Mohan.
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Nityanand Rai, Minister of State MHA responded to the questions stating, “The State Government of Karnataka has informed that they are in the process of establishment of a Detention/ Holding Centre. The required police personnel and other infrastructure facilities have been allocated for this purpose and necessary work is under progress.” On the subject of actual number of such ‘foreigners’ in the state, the MHA submitted, “As per information received from the State Government of Karnataka 143 cases have been registered against illegal Bangladeshi nationals in Karnataka and 114 illegal Bangladeshi nationals have been deported from Karnataka.”
The following questions were raised by Mohan via LS.US.Q.NO.1680 FOR 02.07.2019 –
(a) whether the Government has any data on illegal immigrants residing in the country and in Karnataka;
(b) if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor;
(c) whether any deportation centre is working in Karnataka and if not, the time by which a deportation centre will be functional in the State;
(d) whether the Government has issued any instructions to the State Governments regarding deportation of illegal immigrants; and
(e) if so, the details thereof?
The MHA submitted, “Detection and deportation of illegal migrants is a continuous and ongoing process. Central Government is vested with powers under Section 3(2)(c) of The Foreigners Act, 1946 to deport foreign nationals staying illegally in the country. These powers to deport illegally staying foreign nationals have been entrusted under Article 258 (1) of the Constitution of India to the State Governments. Further, under Article 239 (1) of the Constitution of India, the Administrators of the Union Territories have also been directed to discharge the functions of the Central Government relating to deportation of illegally staying foreign nationals.”
Additionally the MHA submitted, “Instructions have been issued to all State Governments/ UT Administrations including State Government of Karnataka from time to time in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2018, for setting up detention centres as per requirement to restrict the movements of illegally staying foreign nationals so that they are physically available at all times for expeditious repatriation / deportation.”
The entire submission may be read here:
Fears of detention and deportation of ‘foreigners’ gained further currency earlier this year when the MHA passed an Extraordinary Order via a gazette on May 30, offering a virtual backdoor to all states (and not just Assam) the right to take action against ‘foreigners’. The MHA order had amended paragraph 2, sub para 1 of the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, that originally read as follows:
The Central Government may by order, refer the question as to whether a person is not a foreigner within the meaning of the Foreigners Act, 1946 (31 of 1946) to a Tribunal to be constituted for the purpose, for its opinion.
But the latest amendment says:
for the words “the Central Government may,”, the words “the Central Government or the State Government or the Union territory administration or the District Collector or the District Magistrate may,” shall be substituted.
What this means: Thus, the new amendment grants the power to refer people to multiple regional and local government, bureaucratic and judicial authorities. This widens the base of people who have the power to refer cases to Foreigners’ Tribunals.