No. of concerns to be addressed before NRC: Gowda

No. of concerns to be addressed before NRC: Gowda

Congress MP M V Rajeev Gowda. (DH File photo)

Raising concerns about the condition of illegal immigrants in detention camps, Congress MP M V Rajeev Gowda on Thursday said a number of concerns need to be addressed in the light of government's announcement of a nationwide exercise of National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Gowda demanded that the government should be transparent about the NRC process and the future of detainees, while raising the issue as a Special Mention in Rajya Sabha.

"In light of the announcement of a nation-wide National Register of Citizens (NRC), a number of concerns need to be addressed. Let us look at what has happened in Assam. The centre’s response to now-illegal immigrants is to house them in detention camps, as deportation is not an option. A 2.5-hectare detention camp, one of a proposed ten, is currently operational in the Goalpura district of Assam," he said.

While officials claim that the camps will be better than prisons, he referred to "media reports and past history", which depict a "different picture". As per the latest reports, he said the death toll in detention centres has reached 28 and the reasons ranged from consumption of unfit food and unsanitary conditions to suicide.

"In January 2019, the government circulated a Model Detention Centre Manual to all states and union territories, which has not been made public. In response to questions raised in Parliament, the Ministry of Home Affairs stated that there would be sufficient toilets, communication and medical facilities etc," he said.

Gowda said this is a "humanitarian" issue and "at the very least, the government should be transparent" about the process and the future of detainees. "Only then will we learn about the human consequences of the NRC process," he added.