Uttar Pradesh’s first detention centre is ready to function at Nandgram area of Ghaziabad adjoining Delhi. The facility is intended to lodge illegal foreign immigrants and migrants overstaying in the state. It can hold up to 100 inmates and may inaugurate in October. The work of repairing in the building was ongoing for a year and is complete now. Adequate security arrangements have been made as the walls of the facility are heavily fenced. In March, the then SP City Manish Mishra examined the detention centre to take stock of the security arrangements.
The BJP led state government had issued orders for the UP police to take custody of the building, which was earlier a hostel administered by the social welfare department for students from backward sections, to transform it into a “foreigners’ movement restriction centre”.
The building with various rooms, kitchens, and toilets, has been kept ready as per the order of the UP government, said an official from the social welfare department.
Validating the developments, District Social Welfare Officer Sanjay Kumar Vyas said that the detention centre in Nandgram was ready to function and had also been transferred to the police department.
“It will be like an open jail. Only foreigners will be kept here. We are expecting that the centre will be ready to take people in from October. The kitchen and rooms are ready, power and water supply are in place, and the staff has been allocated. All basic facilities will be provided to the detainees in the centre,’’ Vyas said.
The UP government readied the detention centre based on a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) manual issued to state governments in January 2019.
Ambedkar Hostel transformed into a Detention Centre
Under the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government, two separate Ambedkar hostels were built in Nandgram for Dalit students in 2011. The building remained a hostel for members of the community for more than 5 years, but as the number of students waned, it lay vacant for almost four years. After the collapse of the BSP government, these hostels were overlooked and remained shut for many years.
It is being told that the UP government had proposed to the central government to transform it into the detention centre. On the budget allocated by the central government, a construction agency from Meerut has transformed the hostel into a detention centre.
What is a Detention Centre?
A detention centre is a facility in which inmates are forcibly confined and denied a variety of freedoms under the authority of the state as a form of punishment. Foreigners who violate the Foreigners Act, Passport Act, are kept in detention centres until they are extradited.
There are currently 11 detention centres in India. Six of them are in Assam. Other centres are in Delhi, Mhapasa (Goa), Alwar Jail (Rajasthan), and Amritsar Jail (Punjab) and Sondekoppa (Karnataka).
India’s largest detention centre is being set up at Matia in Goalpara (Assam), where 3,000 illegal immigrants can be accommodated. Work is underway to construct two centres each in Punjab and Maharashtra, one in Bengal.
Why does a Detention Centre scare now?
Initially, the detention centres were set up to control the illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries. But ever since the inception of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) the purpose of the detention centre seems to be unclear.
The protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) have kind of faded in everybody’s memories due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And this is when the detention centre began to threaten people.
The uncertainty of whether these detention centres are being set up for illegal immigrants or the Indians who will be overlooked under these new policies instigates the fear of a detention centre.
Source- Dainik Jagran