Amid reports of a detention camp being set up in Karnataka and identification of a plot for another in Maharashtra's Navi Mumbai, home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said the government was "preparing in advance" for the nationwide rollout of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) by constructing detention centres all over the nation.
In an exclusive interview with Network18 group editor-in-chief Rahul Joshi, Shah's statement suggested that the ruling BJP has started working for the nationwide implementation of the NRC.
"The process (of detention) will be managed by the Foreigners Tribunals (FT). The government has its own preparations to make. There is a legal process where FTs are concerned. That process has just started," said the home minister.
FTs are quasi-judicial bodies that determine the citizenship of a person. So far, FTs exist only in Assam to hear appeals of those whose citizenship is under question by the Assam Border Police and those who didn't find mention in the final NRC list.
During the interview, Shah reiterated the Narendra Modi government's claim to implement the NRC all over the country and "throw out infiltrators" from every state before the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
The statement comes amid media reports of one detention centre being been built near Bengaluru in Karnataka, while land for another being identified in Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra.
When asked what will happen to those who are identified as illegal immigrants, Shah said: "A legal process will be followed. A United Nations Convention is set up, rules are there and those laws will be followed."
Even though the BJP has repeatedly claimed to deport the illegal immigrants to Bangladesh, still now there is no repatriation treaty between New Delhi and Dhaka, thereby leaving serious concern as to what would happen to those declared stateless.
The final NRC list, published on 14 September, is an exercise to establish bonafide citizens. The complete list excluded over 19 lakh people, who will now face the quasi-judicial foreigners’ tribunals. People declared foreigners by the FT would be sent to detention centres, in case of absence of deportation.
Assam was the only state, till recently, with detention centres housed inside existing jails. Of the 11 such camps as planned to be built in the state, the first and the largest official detention camp was constructed in Goalpara in September.
A detention centre has been built in Karnataka's Sondekoppa, around 40 km from Bengaluru. Authorities managing the centre claim that it is not a jail, but rather a "movement restriction centre".
Similarly, the Maharashtra state government in September identified a three-acre plot to build a detention centre.
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Updated Date: Oct 17, 2019 19:14:40 IST