Guwahati : In all, 22 children along with their nine mothers are lodged at three detention centres in Assam, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in the state Assembly on Monday.
Replying to a question, Sarma, who also holds the Home portfolio, said that nine “convicted women foreigners” along with 22 children are presently lodged in three detention centres in Kokrajhar, Silchar and Tezpur.
Of the 22 children, 20 are below 14 years of age while two are above 14 years.
The Chief Minister said that in the six detention centres of the state — in Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Jorhat, Silchar, Dibrugarh and Tezpur — 181 detenues were lodged.
Of the 181 detenues, 61 are “declared foreign nationals” while the remaining 120 were convicted by the court and are awaiting deportation after their terms of sentence got over .
The Supreme Court in May 2019 had ordered to release 273 detenues on bail as they had spent more than three years in detention.
Subsequently, another 481 were released based on separate orders issued by the apex court and the Gauhati High Court in April 2020.
Sarma said that so far, 29 people have died in the detention centers due to various diseases.
The cases of suspected foreigners are being dealt with under the Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT), a quasi-judicial institute.
Till April 30 this year, the FTs have disposed of 2,98,471 cases. Of them, 1,39,900 were declared as foreigners while 321 were repatriated.
The Assam government had set up six detention centres within the existing jail premises in Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Jorhat, Silchar, Dibrugarh and Tezpur and lodged “declared foreign nationals” pending their deportation or repatriation and whose movements are required to be restricted.
In view of the Coronavirus outbreak, the Gauhati High Court had in April asked the Border Wing of the Assam Police to release on bail the “declared foreigners” to comply with the Supreme Court order on those who have completed two years in detention camps.
A person is considered a foreigner if he or she entered Assam after March 24, 1971. This is the cut-off date for detecting, detaining and deporting illegal migrants, according to the Assam Accord of August 1985.
A “declared foreigner” (DF) is a person marked by any of the existing 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam for allegedly failing to prove their citizenship after the the Border Wing detects him or her as an illegal immigrant.