The Centre told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that 988 “foreigners” have been lodged in six detention centres in Assam as on November 22, PTI reported. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said that from 2016 to October 13 this year, as many as 28 detenues died in the detention centres or in hospitals.
Rai said that the Assam government has informed the Centre that all detention centres are equipped with basic facilities, including those related to medical care. “Basic facilities like food, clothing, daily newspapers, television facilities in every ward, sports facilities, performance of cultural programmes, library, yoga, meditation facilities etc are provided to the detenues in the detention centres,” the minister claimed.
Rai said the detenues have been provided regular medical checkups. In case of complications, doctors referred the detenues to the nearest civil hospitals of the districts concerned, he added.
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-day-old child and an 85-year-old partially immobile man. Though state minister Chandra Mohan Patowary 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.
In October, a 65-year-old man lodged in a detention camp died at the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital. Family members of Dulal Paul claimed he was mentally unstable.
The Assam Accord, signed in 1985 by the Rajiv Gandhi-led government, had decreed that those who had entered the state since March 25, 1971, on the eve of the Bangladesh Liberation War, would be declared foreigners and deported.
On August 31, the final list of the National Register of Citizens was published in Assam. The list included 19 lakh people – around 6% of the state’s population. Those not in the list are declared “foreigners” and have the option of appealing to Foreigners’ Tribunals within 120 days.