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3 NHRC teams visited Assam detention centres

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, March 17 - The Centre on Tuesday clarified that during last one year, (March 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020), three teams of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) visited detention centres in Assam and interacted with declared foreign nationals.

In pursuance of the order dated May 10, 2019 of the Supreme Court in WP (Civil) No. 1045/2018 � Supreme Court Legal Services Committee vs Union of India and Another, the Government of Assam issued a notification on July 29, 2019 providing for conditional release of declared foreigners who have completed more than three years in detention centres, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said in Lok Sabha.

The Centre further clarified that there is no National Register of Citizens (NRC) detention centre in Assam and added that at least 10 inmates of the six detention centres in the State, where declared foreigners are being kept, have died in different hospitals from March 1, 2019 to February 29 this year.

The six detention centres in Assam � Tezpur, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Kokrajhar and Goalpara � have a capacity of 3,331 persons. A detention centre at Matia, Goalpara with a capacity of 3,000 persons is under construction.

The Assam government has made arrangements to provide legal aid to the needy people among those excluded from the final NRC in the form of assistance through the District Legal Services Authority, Rai added.

India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the status of refugees and the 1967 protocol thereof. At present, the illegal migrants (including those who claim to be refugees) are dealt under the Foreigners Act, 1946, the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Meanwhile, the Centre admitted that there are reports regarding presence of immigrants who have entered the country without valid travel documents. Possibility of their staying in religious places may not be completely ruled out, it said, adding, illegal activities by some illegal immigrants have also been reported.

All state governments have been advised to sensitise law enforcement and intelligence agencies for taking steps for identification of illegal migrants, their restriction to specified locations as per provisions of law, capturing their biographic and biometric particulars, and cancellation of fake Indian documents.

They have been further advised to start legal proceedings, including initiation of deportation proceedings, as per provisions of law and to share with UIDAI the particulars of those illegal migrants who have wrongfully obtained Aadhaar cards for appropriate legal action.

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