Woman inmate of Kokrajhar Detention Camp dies

Robida Begum was suffering from cancer, her daughter is also a detainee at the same camp

Detention campImage Courtesy:telegraphindia.com

Robida Begum alias Roba Begum, a 60-year-old woman inmate of the Kokrajhar Detention Camp in Assam, is the latest detainee to die in the state. She was suffering from cancer of the bladder. Kokrajhar is only one of the six detention camps that operate out of makeshift facilities in local prisons in Assam. With her death, the toll for inmate deaths since 2016 stands at 30. 

Robida Begum hailed from Dima Hasao district and had been lodged at the Kokrajhar camp since February 2018 after being declared foreigner.

The Telegraph reported that a doctor at the RNB civil hospital, Kokrajhar, confirmed the death on Tuesday. He said that the woman was suffering from gall bladder cancer for a long time and was admitted to the hospital on March 22. He added that her body was sent for a post-mortem to Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital, Barpeta, on Monday.

He said, “She underwent treatment at B. Barooah Cancer Institute in Guwahati and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital in Barpeta before her death at the Kokrajhar civil hospital.”

Dasarath Das, Inspector General of Prisons told The Hindu, “She was from Krishnanagar in Hojai district and had been undergoing treatment for cancer and other ailments for a long time. She spent some time at the B. Barooah Cancer Institute in Guwahati and the Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital in Barpeta before her death at the Kokrajhar Civil Hospital.”

Mentioning that the local administration had made arrangements for the body of the deceased to be taken to her village for a burial he said, “We expect to get the deceased’s medical history after the post-mortem is done at the Barpeta medical college today (Tuesday).”

Islamuddin (30), one of Begum’s grandsons who works as a daily-wage labourer in Lumding town of Hojai district, told The Indian Express over the phone that his mother (Begum’s daughter) Mina was also in the same detention facility. “My mother and grandmother were picked up the same day. Now, my grandmother is gone, and my mother is alone there. She was suffering for a long time from cancer.”

“We have not filed an appeal against the Foreigners’ Tribunal in the High Court. I could not even afford transportation of my grandmother’s body to Lumding and government officials arranged for it,” he added.

He also informed that along with him, his three brothers and one sister too had been left out of the NRC. However, all his uncles were included in the NRC.

Roba Begum’s death is the second in Assam in 2020. Before her, Naresh Koch, a daily wager from Tinkoniapara village, who was detained in the Goalpara detention centre since March 2018 died in January this year.

Many organizations like, the Amnesty International and the Justice for Liberty Initiative have written to the Supreme Court of India asking that it order the release of more than 800 people in the six detention centres on humanitarian grounds in light of the dangers during the Coronavirus outbreak.

CJP’s efforts to assist detainees

Meanwhile, CJP is helping people who have completed three years in detention camps get released on bail. This is in line with a May 2019 Supreme Court order. So far, 11 people have been released on bail with CJP’s assistance. CJP undertook the painstaking process of helping collect and authenticate documents of sureties required for applying for the bail. The process is tedious and time consuming often requiring running from pillar to post for months together! In fact in two out of these eleven cases, CJP also bore all expenses related to document collection and submission.




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