MHA claims it has no data on Assam Detention Camp inmates!

Oddly enough the data had been regularly made available in multiple submissions before the Assam state assembly, and the fact that the same data was provided in the winter session of November 2019


In yet another shocking addition to the “no data” stand of the government, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), on September 20, claimed that it has not maintained data Centrally on the number of cases of doubtful voters pending with Foreigners Tribunals in Assam, as well as the number of people declared foreigners. This was in response to a question raised by Prof. Saugata Ray of TMC in the Parliament.

However, the MHA furnished the following numbers; there are 83,008 cases of doubtful voters pending with the tribunals in Assam. Number of people declared as foreigners in Assam from the year 2015 to June 30, 2020 are 86,756, as per data given to the MHA by the Assam government.

Prof Ray also sought data on the number of detention centres and the number of foreign nationals detained currently in detention centres. The trend in this Monsoon Session seems to be “this data is not centrally maintained” even if such data has been provided in the past. As a matter of fact, the MHA has provided information on the number of detention centres and detainees in the winter session of 2019 and was presented as data submitted by the Assam government. Since such information has been provided in the past by the same government, one wonders why such data would be kept hidden this time around?

Last November, MHA had stated that there are 988 detainees in detention camps in Assam as on November 22 and had even provided details on the number of deaths in detention camps in 3 years which was 28 deaths from 2016 until October 13, 2019. It is noteworthy that many detainees were let out on bail following two orders of the Supreme Court. In May last year the SC had permitted the release of inmates who had completed three years behind bars on conditional bail. In wake of the outbreak of Covid-19, the SC directed that the mandatory tenure be reduced to two years.

Thus, when similar information was sought by MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi in the Assam State Assembly, Chandra Mohan Patowary who is the Cabinet Minister of Transport, Industry & Commerce, Parliamentary Affairs and SEED, submitted on behalf of the Government of Assam that there were 425 inmates in six detention camps in the state.

Now, why is it that the MHA does not have this information that is already in the public domain courtesy an official submission before the state assembly?

The parliamentary response may be read here.


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