Updated: December 22, 2019 10:38:59 pm
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday claimed there were no detention centres in India, the Congress hit back, saying a “simple google search” could fact-check his “lies”.
“Does PM Modi believe Indians can’t do a simple google search to fact check his lies? Detention Centres are extremely real and will continue to grow as long as this govt is in power,” the Congress tweeted.
Does PM Modi believe Indians can’t do a simple google search to fact check his lies?
— Congress (@INCIndia) December 22, 2019
In his speech in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Sunday, the Prime Minister had said Congress, its allies and “Urban Naxals” were spreading “lies and misinformation” about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), but no Indian Muslim had anything to fear from them, and there were no detention centres in India.
“Jo Hindustan ki mitti ke musalman hain, jinke purkhe Ma Bharati ki santaan hein… un par nagarikta kanoon aur NRC, dono ka koi lena dena nahin hain. Koi desh ke musalmanon ko na detention centre mein bheja ja raha hai, na Hindustan main koi detention centre hai, yeh safed jhooth hai, yeh badiraade vaala khel hai, ye naapaak khel hai. (Both the CAB and NRC do not have any implications for Muslims who are sons of India’s soil, whose forefathers are sons of Mother India. No one is sending Muslims of this country to detention centres, nor is there any detention centre in India. This is a clear lie, it is a game with wrong intentions, a nefarious game),” the PM said.
Express Reportage On Proposed Detention Centres
In September, The Indian Express travelled to Matia in Goalpara district, where the new detention camp is being built, and published a story on September 8. This detention centre plan includes a primary school, a hospital, and a separate water supply system, and construction at the site is on in full swing.
Assam currently has six detention centres to hold ‘illegal foreigners’, but these are all located inside jails. Together they house 1,000-odd detainees, in conditions that have been deplored by activists. According to a reply by the MHA in the Parliament this month, 289 ‘declared foreigners’ have been detained this year.
The detention centre at Matia, around 150 km from Guwahati, is being built as per guidelines circulated by the Centre in January 2019. It is the first such centre in the state to be built exclusively for the purpose of detaining those declared ‘illegal foreigners’ by the state’s Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs).
Talking about the “guidelines” in the Rajya Sabha on July 24, Union Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai, had said, “With a view to formalise the setting up of detention/holding centres in States/UTs for restricting the movement of illegal immigrants/foreign nationals awaiting deportation, the Government has prepared a Model Detention Centre Manual… The Manual covers amenities to be provided… for the inmates to maintain standards of living in consonance with basic human needs. This includes amenities like electricity, drinking water, toilets/baths with running water, communication facilities, provision for kitchen.”
As per the manual, members of the same family would be kept at the same centre, there would be segregated accommodation for male and female detainees, as well as special facilities for nursing mothers.
In October, The Indian Express reported that Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP’s key person in the Northeast, said that once the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is passed, no person of non-Muslim faith will be sent to a detention camp for illegal foreigners. “After the CAB is passed, Assam detention camp will be shut for Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Christian. Regarding the other population, it is for the court to take a call. Detention camp is there because of court order, not because state government wants it,” Sarma had told reporters then.
In Maharashtra too, The Indian Express reported in September, the City Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) was in the process of identifying land in Navi Mumbai to set up a detention centre for illegal immigrants in the state. The move came after the state home department wrote to CIDCO seeking land for the detention centre, in the wake of the central government issuing National Registry of Citizenship (NRC) guidelines. Maharashtra was then under a BJP government.
Similarly, in BJP-ruled Karnataka, The Indian Express reported in November, the state government had stated that a detention centre as per an MHA manual based on international conventions was to be set outside Bengaluru by January 2020. It had also said that it was ready to set up MHA-approved detention centres in all districts.
(with inputs from Abhishek Saha)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.