The human rights of all illegal immigrants detained by police in Karnataka must not be violated and they should be provided all basic necessities until they are deported to their home country, the Karnataka High Court told the state home department on Friday.
A single judge bench of Justice K N Phaneendra was hearing the bail plea of two alleged illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, Babul Khan and Tania, who were arrested last year.
The directive comes in the wake of the detention of 60 illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, including nearly 40 women and children, by Bengaluru Police in a special drive on October 25 at the prodding of the new BJP government in Karnataka.
Karnataka Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Rajneesh Goel submitted a status report on measures taken by the state government to keep illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in detention ahead of their deportation. In an affidavit, Goel said that a detention centre meant to house illegal immigrants is still in the process of being set up and would be ready only in early 2020. Goel told the court that illegal immigrants in the state would be kept in properties leased by the state until the detention centre is operational.
The court said that once someone is found to be an illegal immigrant, “it is an offence if they are found to be out in the open”. “The court should not be party to such an offence,’’ the judge said. At the same time, “their human rights must not be violated”, the judge said while seeking a guarantee that all basic needs of the illegal immigrants will be fulfilled in the locations they are kept in until 2020.
Appearing on behalf of the Union Home Ministry, the additional solicitor general said the new detention centre in Bengaluru will provide facilities to the detained immigrants as per a manual brought out by the ministry.
Karnataka Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Rajneesh Goel told the court that once a detention centre is set up, it would be the responsibility of the MHA’s foreigners registration regional office to look after the welfare and deportation of the illegal immigrants.
The case was adjourned to November 18 to enable the state government to provide all details of facilities that will be provided to illegal immigrants at temporary homes and the rules for such detention.
The alleged presence of a large number of illegal Bangladeshis in Bengaluru has become a political issue and source of confusion since the BJP came to power in July, with Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai saying a National Register of Citizens will be introduced to check illegal residents and police commissioner Bhaskar Rao warning against sheltering suspected immigrants.
In the Karnataka High Court this week, state authorities, however, indicated that official records show the presence of only 373 illegal residents from Bangladesh in the state with 127 released on bail after their detention.