At least nine people in Assam who had been declared foreigners and lodged in the detention camp in Goalpara district jail were released on Monday, days ahead of the final publication of the National Register of Citizens, NDTV reported. The final list of the national register will be published on August 31.
The nine were among 335 declared foreigners who were supposed to be released after the Supreme Court ordered that those detained for more than three years be let go if they pay two sureties of Rs 1 lakh each, submit a verifiable address, and allow biometric details to be submitted. They are also required to report to a police station every week.
According to government documents accessed by NDTV, four of the nine people are Muslims and the rest are Hindus. There are 1,145 declared foreigners in six detention camps across the state.
“We do not wish to divulge their names or addresses as they have been granted bail by the FT [Foreigners Tribunal] court,” Goalpara Superintendent of Police Sushanta Biswa Sarma told News18. “There are about 16-17 declared foreigners in Goalpara detention camp, of which 9 have been released.”
In July, the state government had said seven people declared foreigners died in detention centres this year. Till date, 25 people who were declared foreigners have died in these centres.
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Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in power in the state, on Monday said it feared many “genuine Indian citizens” might not make it to the register because NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela had carried out the database update exercise in consultation with “just two-three organisations”, reported The Times of India.
“How can we say the final NRC is error-free if so many Indians, including Hindus, don’t find their names on the final list just because they were unable to furnish some documents?” asked state BJP President Ranjeet Kumar Dass.
Dass claimed the BJP had information about people who were declared foreigners getting back into the draft register. “More than Rs 1,200 crore has been spent on updating the NRC,” he added. “If a single genuine citizen is left out, it will be a travesty.”
The BJP leader claimed that many serving and retired security personnel, and family members of freedom fighters and those killed during the anti-foreigner movement had been excluded from the draft NRC.
Asked why the government did not act earlier if it knew foreigners were being included in the database, Dass said that in its July 2017 order, the Supreme Court had asked it not to interfere with the NRC process. “It said the NRC coordinator would be responsible for the entire exercise,” the BJP leader added.
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