The Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government has identified land to build the state’s first detention centre for illegal immigrants, Mumbai Mirror reported on Saturday.
The home department last week reportedly wrote to the City and Industrial Development Corporation, which is the planning authority for Navi Mumbai, and sought a three-acre plot in Nerul for the detention centre.
This came days after more than 19 lakh people out of 3.3 crore were left out of the final list of the Assam’s National Register of Citizens. The number of people left out in the state’s updated citizens’ database comprise around 6% of Assam’s entire population. They will now have to appeal against the decision in foreigners’ tribunals and are at the risk of being sent to detention centres.
The exact location of the proposed dentention centre is not known yet, but the newspaper reported that the plot was recently used by a non-governmental organisation.
Amitabh Gupta, principal secretary, home department, said the process to find land had begun in July, after the Union government sent instructions to all state governments in connection with this.
The model detention manual released by the government states that every city or district which has a major immigration post must have a detention centre.
“There are large number of illegal immigrants, especially Bangladeshi,” an unidentified official from the home department in Maharashtra told Mumbai Mirror. However, no exact figures were given by the official. He said the process of repatriating them takes time and therefore a detention centre is necessary, adding that presently the immigrants were detained in jails.
The official said the proposed detention centre would not be like a jail. “It will have all the facilities detainees are entitled to,” he said. The ‘2019 Model Detention Manual’ mandates that detainees should not be separated from their family members and every centre must have a crèche.
The Bharatiya Janata Party manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections had said the government would identify “illegal immigrants” and “infiltrators” from every “inch” of the country and that “they will be deported in accordance to prevailing international laws”. In July, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also told the Rajya Sabha that his government will ensure that all illegal immigrants are identified and deported.