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Sunday, November 28, 2021

No plans of building detention centres in Kerala: CM Pinarayi Vijayan

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

By: Express Web Desk | Kochi |
Updated: December 27, 2019 8:16:20 pm
Pinarayi Vijayan on detention centres, detention centres in Kerala, NRC in Kerala, caa nrc, national register of citizens, citizenship amendment act, indian express Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has already stated that he will not allow the process of the NRC to be implemented in Kerala. (File photo)

The Kerala government Friday rejected reports that it was planning to build detention centres that would hold people who illegally entered the country, convicted foreigners waiting for deportation and those whose visas might 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 the debate around the proposed national register of citizens (NRC) and the future of those who would fall through the cracks if such a register is implemented. CM Vijayan has already stated that he will not allow the process of the NRC 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 then Union government in August 2012. The Union government’s 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 waiting for legal issues to be resolved before their deportation. The Congress-led UPA was in power at the time.

On November 4, 2015, the home ministry convened a meeting for the same in which then state DGP, ADGP (intelligence) and IG (Jail) had taken part. It was decided in the meeting that the state’s social justice department would oversee the construction of such detention centres and appropriate land be allocated for the same. 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 told to submit a recommendation for the setting up of 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 social justice department to furnish details of the number of people who would be held in such centres. The state crime records bureau was also asked to furnish details of the same. No such data has been received till now from the crime records bureau, and that regular reminders continue to come from the Union home ministry, the CMO statement underlined. The CPM-led LDF government was elected to power only 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 in Thiruvananthapuram, “As part of clearance of files, we had this file. Since we didn’t know the details (of foreigners to be detained), we sent back the file asking to furnish them. So far, no decision has been made on it.”

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