‘Foreigners’ finally free in Assam

‘Foreigners’ finally free in Assam

Assam starts releasing people declared foreigners by a tribunal from detention camps

Applicants waiting for verification of documents for NRC in Assam recently. (DH File Photo)

The Assam government has recently released four persons, who completed more than three years in a detention camp after being declared foreigners by a tribunal.

This comes days before release of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is being updated in Assam to identify illegal migrants living in the state. The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the NRC exercise, fixed August 31 for release of the final NRC.

The four were released from Goalapara detention camp in western Assam, after they fulfilled all five conditions, prepared by the state government as per instructions of the Supreme Court for the conditional release of the declared foreigners. The apex court, during a hearing of the PIL last month regarding the plight of such persons, had approved the state government’s proposal for the conditional release of declared foreigners, who completed more than three years in detention camps.

Confirming the development, a senior police official told DH that the four were among 335 people who had completed more than three years and were found eligible for conditional release.

The official, however, refused to divulge details of the released persons and their addresses citing security reasons. He said biometric details of all 335 declared foreigners were collected as per the modalities finalised by the state home and political department.

There are 1,145 declared foreigners lodged in six detention centres inside district jails in Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Tezpur, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Silchar. They were declared foreigners by Foreigners Tribunals after they failed to prove that they or their forefathers lived in Assam before March 24, 1971- the cut-off date fixed for segregation of citizens from “illegal migrants” from neighbouring Bangladesh.

As per the modalities published on July 31, a declared foreigner who completed more than three years must deposit a bond with two sureties of Rs 1 lakh each of Indian citizen, a verifiable address of stay after his or release from the detention centre, biometrics of his/her iris (if possible)
and all 10 fingerprints and photos.

He/she shall report once every week to the police station specified by the home and political department.

He or she shall notify any change in address to the specified police station on the same day.

Sources said the process was underway for conditional release of other declared foreigners similarly.

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