Detention centres will be set up soon by the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal, PTI reported Saturday. Informing about the development, West Bengal Correctional Services Minister Ujjwal Biswas told PTI that these centres shall have “absolutely no connection” with the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The state government has plans for two detention centres and has already finalised a piece of land in the New Town area for the first centre, Biswas was quoted as saying.
The process of scouting for land in Bongaon in North 24 Parganas district for the second detention centres is also underway, the minister added.
Talking about the plans, Biswas said it is possible that an existing government building in Bongaon could be prepared as the second camp to temporarily contain the people of foreign origin, till the piece of land is finally identified.
“These detention camps are being constructed adhering to Supreme Court directives, according to which foreign nationals under trial and those convicted should not be kept with local inmates,” he was quoted as saying.
“This has absolutely no connection with the NRC. Please don’t link it to NRC,” the minister added.
The Minister referred to a directive issued by the union government in 2014, which asks all states to install at least one detention centre for illegal immigrants and foreign people of foreign origin who are awaiting deportation after completion of their sentence.
Most of these foreign nationals belong to African countries, PTI sources in the correctional department stated.
“Till now, the foreign nationals arrested for criminal activities are housed along with local inmates. But, we have observed that this creates problems due to different cultures and languages, and the situation becomes quite difficult for us to handle,” Biswas was quoted as saying.
As many as 110 foreign nationals are currently under trial and have been kept with local inmates at different correctional homes in the state, the sources added.
The two detention centres would be able to accommodate around 200 inmates, they informed.
BJP has long maintained its demand for implementation of NRC in Bengal, too, in order to flush out Bangladeshi Muslims for the citing country’s internal security.
“There will be no Assam-like detention camps in Bengal because there is going to be no NRC in this state,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had recently said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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