UP just got its first detention camp

Construction at Nandgram site completed, could be inaugurated in October

Detention campRepresentation Image

A new detention center has come up in Uttar Pradesh. Located in the Nandgram area of Ghaziabad, the facility built with the purported objective of lodging illegal immigrants, had been under construction for over a year.

According to media reports the facility has a capacity for lodging 100 inmates, and already has water and electricity connections. According to Dainik Jagran, this facility was previously a hostel for Dalit girl students. Though it had been inaugurated in January 2011, along with a boy’s hostel, it fell vacant a few years ago. That’s when it was decided to convert it into a detention camp.

District Social Welfare Officer Sanjay Kumar Vyas told Dainik Jagran, “The detention camp is ready. Now the police department will oversee it. Immigrants living illegally in UP will be kept here.”

At present there are six functional detention centers in Assam that operate out of makeshift facilities in district jails. Recently the Assam government revealed plans to construct ten dedicated detention camps in the state. In a submission made before the Assam Assembly on July 29, 2019, Chandra Mohan Patowary, Minister of Industry and Transportation, said, “There are six temporary detention camps in Assam. Work of a permanent detention camp is going on in Matia, Goalpara. A proposal has already been sent to the central government for building ten additional detention camps. But so far the central government has not given us the go ahead.” Elaborating upon the proposed location of the camps, Potowary had submitted, “These detention camps will be located in Sivasagar, Nagaon, Karimganj, Nalbari, Lakhimpur, Haflong, Guwahati, Barpeta, Goalpara and Tezpur.”

Apart from this there are detention facilities in Bangalore, Alwar, Amritsar, Delhi and Mapusa. A detention center was being planned in Maharashtra, though that proposal has been placed on ice by the state government in December 2019 amidst the burgeoning movement against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR). Thackeray had appeared to scrap the proposal to construct a facility in Nerul in Navi Mumbai at that time. However, a senior bureaucrat had told Times of India in February 2020, that the state government was in the process of taking possession of a temporary detention centre while the process of identifying land for a permanent detention centre was on.

Two more are also under construction in West Bengal. The Telegraph reported that Bengal is in the process of constructing two detention camps, for which it has identified land in New Town and Bongaon.

The State’s Correctional Services Minister had at that time said that the proposed detention camps had nothing to do with NRC and it is only for foreign nationals who are arrested on criminal charges and who mostly hail from sub-Saharan African nations. According to the state correction services department, Bengal has 110 foreign nationals who are under-trials. The Ministry further said that they are only following the Supreme Court’s directives about keeping foreign nationals in separate detention camps in accordance with international norms.



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