Increasing deaths in detention camps prompt review: Assam

25 people have died in the six detention camps of Assam — 24 since 2016.

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The detention camps for ‘declared foreigners’ left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) have come under scrutiny for its deplorable conditions after the reports of two detainees passing away due to deteriorating health emerged.

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has been tracking the distress created by the citizenship crisis for over two years now. Sabrang India has regularly reported on the deaths in detention camps and the villages of Assam.

The humanitarian crisis created in Assam has impacted innumerable lives. CJP had reported the mysterious deaths of Bengali Hindu SubrataDey who was labelled a “Bangladeshi” and sent to the Goalpara detention camp and Jobbar Ali who was found dead in the Tezpur detention camp.

NDTV reported that Phalu Das, 70, a resident of Satemari near Mukalmuwa of Nalbari district had been in a detention camp in Goalpara in lower Assam since July 2017. He was admitted to hospital on October 11 after his health deteriorated; he was later referred to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) where he died during treatment.

In protest over not being informed of his ill health, Das’ family had refused to accept his body and accused the government of labelling him a foreigner despite having the requisite documents.

On October 13, another detainee, Dulal Chandra Paul, a 65-year-old man from Alisinga village of Assam’s Sonitpur district, died in the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital also because of deteriorating health problem. His family alleged negligence on the part of the authorities led to his death.

Over a 1000 people who have apparently failed to prove their citizenship have been declared foreigners and are held in six detention centers at Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Tezpur across the state.

The committee set to review the centers will be headed by DIG (Border Police) and comprise of Inspector General of Prisons Smt. Barnali Sharma, District and Sessions Judge Hardeep Singh (Retd.), one one representative to be nominated by Deputy Commissioner of the concerned district, and any other member co-opted by the Chairman.

“The committee will visit all detention centres in the state and review the legal aid status and health status of each detainee and provide recommendation for improvement, if needed,” said a release issued by Chief Minister SarbanandaSonowal’s office.

The committee is also tasked to evaluate the quantity of food given to the detainees, living condition in the centres and facilities provided for education of the children of the detainees. The committee has been asked to submit its report within three months.

Till date, over 25 detainees have died in these detention camps.

Goalpara detention camp has proved to be the deadliest and leads the list with ten dead inmates. The Tezpur facility follows closely with nine dead inmates. Meanwhile, three people died in at the Silchar detention camp in Cachar district, two people including one woman died in the Kokrajhar detention camp, and one person died in the Jorhat detention camp. The dead include 14 Muslims, 10 Hindus and one member of the Tea Tribes.

Human rights organization Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has cried hoarse about the move of the current regime and has worked to expose the lamentable conditions of these detention camps where people have mysteriously died, yet the cause of death as per the government submission is “due to illness”.

Assam published the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) in August 31 this year which excluded over 1.9 million people leaving them to be ‘stateless citizens’. Assam has six detention centres across the state where the Foreigners Tribunals send people prior to their deportation after declaring them as aliens while determining their citizenship.

After Assam, the BJP government has plans to extend the NRC to Karnataka, Maharashtra and Bihar, with detention centers already coming up in Sondekoppa in Nelamangala, around 40 km from Bengaluru and Navi Mumbai.

Assam Detention Camps: Gov’t reveals 25 inmates dead so far
Hindus are not foreigners in India, but Hindus are dying in Assam’s Detention Camps
After Assam, detention camp to come up in Karnataka?
Are citizenship determining processes in Assam biased against the underprivileged?



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