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28 inmates died in Assam detention camps past 3 years

“Assam state home minister says Deaths have nothing to do fear or pressure”

Replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said that from 2016 to October 13, 2019, 28 detenues had died either in detention centres or in hospitals where they were referred.

 As many as 28 inmates of detention camps in Assam have died for various reasons in the past three years, the government told Parliament on Wednesday. It also said there were close to 1,000 people lodged in these detention centres after being found to be illegal immigrants.

As informed by the government of Assam, as on November 22, 2019, 988 foreigners were lodged in six detention centres in Assam,”

Assam, which has struggled with an immigration problem for almost four decades, sends people it deems illegal migrants to detention centres. These centres have been criticised for violating human rights and forcing people to live in inhuman conditions.

According to the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a human rights group, about 100 people have died because of various reasons. Some died in detention centres, others committed suicide. CJP has been tracking these deaths since 2011.

Former bureaucrat Harsh Mander, who visited the detention camps in Assam as an NHRC special monitor in January 2018, attributed several reasons that make detainees fret the worst. He said that people were separated from their families, they could not work, nor had they any recreation facilities. There is no provision for a parole in such cases.

“All this creates an environment of intense, permanent sadness. It is elementary knowledge that physical health is closely related to mental health,” Mander said. “It was like everyone was in mourning. When I visited, after the women realised there is someone who is there to listen to them, there was a mass mourning, they started wailing.”

Mander later resigned as NHRC special monitor citing inaction on the report he filed on detention camps. He later filed a petition in the Supreme Court on the living conditions in the camps.

Mander said that one good thing that came out of the case, which is still on, that they could draw the apex court’s attention to the core problem of indefinite detention. The court agreed to direct the state to release people after they complete three years in camps.

“The fundamental right to life, assured under Article 21, applies not only to the citizens but to all residents, including foreigners. The state is responsible for them whether they are citizens or not," Mander said.

Reference by Telegraph



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