Could ten new detention camps come up in Assam?

Submission made before state assembly also says there are over one lakh each of Declared Foreigners and D-Voters in the state

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In a submission made before the Assam Assembly on July 29, 2019, Chandra Mohan Patowary, Minister of Industry and Transportation, revealed that as many as ten new detention centers are being planned across Assam, though the central government was yet to green-light the project. The submission was in response to a series of questions raised by MLA Zakir Hussain Sikdar.

Potowary submitted, “There are six temporary detention camps in Assam. Work of a permanent detention camp is going on in Matia, Goalpara. A proposal has already sent to the central government for building ten additional detention camps. But so far the central government has not given us the go ahead.” The current detention camps operate out of makeshift facilities in district prisons and detainees often end up mingling with other jail inmates including hardened criminals.

Elaborating upon the proposed location of the camps, Potowary submitted, “These detention camps will be located in Sivasagar, Nagaon, Karimganj, Nalbari, Lakhimpur, Haflong, Guwahati, Barpeta, Goalpara and Tezpur.”

It is noteworthy that over 800 people are lodged in detention camps, but many could be released soon as the Supreme Court has greenlighted the consitional release of all inmates who have completed two years in detention. The SC modified its own May 2019 order that had offered conditional release to people who had completed three years in setention. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the SC has also reduced the surety amount from Rs 1,00,000/- to just Rs 5,000/-.

Potowary’s submission also includes a list of names of all people lodged in the various detention camps. The submission and the list may be viewed here.

In response to questions about the number of declared foreigners and D-Voters, Potowary submitted, “Total 1,17,168 people are declared as foreigner in Assam till March, 2019. Total number of D voters are 1,13,738 as per the voter list on February 6, 2019.”


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