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All measures to build detention centres on hold, says Kerala govt

Minister for Social Justice K K Shailaja told reporters, “As part of clearance of files, we had this file. Since we didn’t know the details, we sent back the file asking to furnish them. So far, no decision has been made on it.”

Written by Vishnu Varma | Kochi |
December 28, 2019 3:35:01 am
All measures to build detention centres on hold, says Kerala govt The decision comes in the wake of protests against the CAA and NRC. Vijayan has already stated that he will not allow the NRC process to be implemented in Kerala.

The Kerala government on Friday rejected reports that it was planning to build detention centres for people who illegally entered the country, convicted foreigners awaiting deportation and those whose visas have expired.

A statement from the office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan clarified that it had put on hold all measures for the same taken by the previous government.

The decision comes in the wake of protests against the CAA and NRC. Vijayan has already stated that he will not allow the NRC process to be implemented in Kerala.

According to the Chief Minister’s Office, a letter directing home secretaries of states to build detention centres was first sent by the Union government in August 2012. The instruction was that such centres would be used to hold those who entered the country illegally, foreigners overstaying in India despite their visas expiring, and convicted foreigners awaiting legal issues to be resolved before their deportation. The Congress-led UPA was in power at that time.

On November 4, 2015, the home ministry convened a meeting for the same, which the then state DGP, ADGP (intelligence) and IG (Jail) attended. It was decided at the meeting that the state’s social justice department would oversee the construction of such detention centres and appropriate land would be allocated for the purpose. Staff would be appointed by the police department and the centres would be outside the purview of the police-jail departments.

The CMO statement goes on to state that on February 29, 2016, the social justice department director was asked to submit a recommendation for setting up the detention centres. A managing committee comprising district officers of the social justice department and district police superintendent was also set up. Following this, the social justice department in the secretariat asked the director of the department to furnish details of the number of people who would be held in such centres. The state crime records bureau was asked to furnish the details. No such data has been received till now and regular reminders continue to come from the Union home ministry, the CMO statement said.

The CPM-led LDF government was elected to power in May 2016.

The government made it clear that no minister in the current dispensation has seen the file on the detention centres and therefore no decision was taken.

Minister for Social Justice K K Shailaja told reporters, “As part of clearance of files, we had this file. Since we didn’t know the details, we sent back the file asking to furnish them. So far, no decision has been made on it.”

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