A 65-year-old man, who was lodged in a detention centre for illegal migrants in Assam, died at the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital on Sunday, The Indian Express reported. Family members of Dulal Paul claimed he was mentally unstable, and was admitted to the hospital on September 28 due to his “deteriorating health”.

“He was mentally unstable,” Sadhan Paul, a nephew of Dulal Paul, told the daily. “His siblings and their families are in the NRC [National Register of Citizens]. Our family has land documents dating back to the 1960s. A mentally-unstable person was put into detention.” The National Register of Citizens, an updated list of Indian citizens in Assam released on August 31, excluded 19 lakh people. For now, the authorities have said they will have to stand trial in Assam’s foreigners’ tribunals.

Paul, a resident of Alisinga village of Sonitpur district, had been in the detention centre in Tezpur since October 11, 2017, said an unidentified police officer. Assam has six detention centres and the seventh one is under construction in Goalpara. The detention centres are located in district jails and house around 1,000 people.

In July, responding to a question raised in the state Assembly, the Assam government for the first time released a list of people who had died in detention. The list of 25 people included a 45-days-old child and an 85-year-old partially immobile man.

State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said the detainees died in hospitals. Though he claimed that they died of various illnesses, some of their family members alleged that they died because of lack of basic facilities and harassment in the jails.

The foreigners’ tribunals had identified 1,17,164 people till March 31. Around 29,855 foreigners were expelled between 1985 and June 30, 2019, said Patowary.

In 1985, the anti-foreigners’ agitation led by the All Assam Students’ Union came to an end with the signing of the Assam Accord. Under the accord, it was agreed that the names of those who had entered the state between 1966 and 1971 would be deleted from the electoral rolls and their voting rights would be taken away for 10 years. It was decided that those who had entered the state since March 25, 1971, on the eve of the Bangladesh War, would be declared foreigners and deported.

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