Coming soon, a foreigners’ detention centre in B'luru

In the wake of rising number of crimes involving overstaying foreign nationals across Bengaluru, the Centre has written to the state government to set up a 'foreigners' detention centre" in the city and monitor both the overstaying foreigners and illegal immigrants. 

Referring to repeated reports about illegal activities by foreign nationals, the Centre wrote a letter last week to the Principal Secretary, Home Department. The letter signed by PC Guite, Under Secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners’ Dept) directed the state to take up measures to set up a detention centre in Bengaluru at the earliest. 

“It has been contended that a large number of illegal immigrants from Africa and Bangladesh are residing in Bengaluru. They have been allegedly found indulging in various illegal activities such as drug peddling, prostitution, online frauds, house thefts and robberies,” the letter said. 

Referring to the provisions provided with the state governments under the Foreigners Act 1946, the Centre directed Karnataka to restrict the movement of foreign nationals awaiting deportation and restrict them in a detention centre for foreigners, ensuring physical availability at all times for expeditious repatriation or deportation as soon as the travel documents are ready. 

Even though the Centre has written to the state, the city police presented a different version. According to them, a proposal to set up a detention centre for foreigners has been pending for three years. The East Division police had demanded a detention centre after overstaying Africans and Bangladeshis were involved in a spate of crimes in the last few years.

Last month, Bengaluru Central parliamentarian P C Mohan and Mahadevapura MLA Aravind Limbavali had appealed to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to set up a detention centre. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had also favoured the proposal and directed the ministry’s division concerned to expedite the process. 

“As of now, we are doing our best with whatever we have in hand. However, that does not serve any purpose,” revealed a senior police officer. “We can send them to prison, but soon after they get bail, they have to report to a state-designated detention centre which is absent in our state,” admitted an officer. While the state has to bear the expenses towards their stay at the detention centres, the Ministry of External Affairs will later reimburse the money, according to sources.  

Promising action, Kamal Pant, ADGP, Law and Order, said, “We are in the process of identifying a suitable place to construct a detention centre. It will be accomplished very soon.”

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Coming soon, a foreigners’ detention centre in B'luru

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