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Freedom Politics

28 deaths in detention camps, detainees down from 1043 to 988 in 9 days: Assam

Questions related to detention camps in Assam have been repeated, time and again, during the winter 2019 session of Parliament. Last week saw a question in Lok Sabha, where the government claimed to know the nationalities of the detainees and this week the government stated that there have been 28 deaths in detention camps and also made tall claims about the facilities provided to the inmates.

Sabrangindia 28 Nov 2019

death in detention camps

Just recently, Sabrang India had reported upon government’s claims that as of November 13 there were 1043 foreigners in detention camps in Assam.  On November 27 again questions related to detention camps in Assam were asked and the MHA in response stated that as of November 22 there are 988 foreigners in detention camps in Assam and there have been 28 deaths in these camps so far!

This reply reveals that that the number of detainees have decreased by 55 detainees in mere 9 days. Reports from Assam, also reported in Sabrangindia, reveal that some of these detainees were released in accordance with Supreme Court’s order of May 2019 where the court directed the conditional release of those detainees who had completed more than 3 years living in detention camps. On November 25, a total of seven detainees from Bongaigaon District were released from the Goalpara detention camp last Thursday, Pratidin Sangbad reports. They are Ajwhar Ali (Oudubi village under Jogeeghopa police station), Ali Akbar (Satpara village), Saru Sheikh (Pallirtal), Manikjan Bibi ( Manikpur Hapachara), Niranjan barman (Abhayapuri), Nasiruddin (Merer char), Jalaluddin (Nasunguri). These seven detainees have completed more than three harsh years in Goalpara detention camp and have been released in accordance with the Supreme Court orders of May 2018.Still, 55 seems like a pretty high number of releases to be carried out just in a matter of 9 days!

If both answers by MoS (Minister of State) in Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are to be believed, 55 inmates were released from the 6 detention camps in Assam in a period of 9 days. The Ministry also mentioned that from the year 2016 up to 13.10.2019, 28 detainees have died either in the detention centres or in hospitals where they were referred.
 

Claims of “facilities” in detention camps

The government has also made claims that Government of Assam has spent Rs. 4.74 crores between 2009 to 2018 on detention camps in Assam. The Ministry further claims that “All the basic facilities including medical care facilities are provided to foreigners in the detention centres in Assam. Basic facilities include food, clothing, daily newspapers, television facilities in every ward, sports facilities, performance of cultural programs, library, yoga and meditation. Apart from regular health checkups, indoor hospital facilities in every detention centres are also available with medical staff. Medicines are provided by the district Health Services Authorities.”

However, as we reported on November 20, based on a report in Dainik Asom, a high-level committee set up by the Assam Government was compelled to visit the Kokrajahr Detention camp. The visit was meant to monitor and observe the conditions in the detention camp. The visit came fast on the heels of a recent death of a detainee in the detention camp, and the uproar around the poor conditions within. After visiting the camp, the principal of the committee and DIG of border branch Mr. Devajit Mukherjee told the media that they will submit the report on the visit after three months. Specfic suggestions will be incorporated and included in the report. He (Devajit Mukherjee ) also said that some more immediate steps have already been taken in case of Tezpur Detention camp. There are a total of 142 detainees in the Kokrajhar Detention camp. Among them 14 are children and 30 are new entrant detainees who have been included.


Reality check

However, these tall claims of the government fall flat when one hears stories from the ground, from the people released from detention camps, who have a completely different story to tell. Majibur Rahman who was recently released from a detention camp said, “The food was of a poor quality and my health deteriorated significantly during the course of my incarceration,”

A woman named, Rashminara Begum, who was pregnant and rearing a child at the time of her detention, recounted the horrors of living in a detention camp after having been released. She said that they were kept in the company of murder convicts and she constantly feared for her life and the life of her unborn child. She also recounted how one mentally challenged woman amongst the detainees was beaten up once for demanding food after the time for serving food was over and the prison staff instructed the murder convicts to beat her up!

Subrata Dey was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Goalpara detention camp leaving behind his wife Karuna, teenaged son Biki, young daughter Sucheta and mother Anima Dey.
His family was dependent on the income from his modest tea shop but now they are living hand to mouth with whatever they could earn by making and selling cloth bags. All four of them have been also excluded from the final NRC.


Related:
Seven Detainees of Bongaigaon District released from Goalpara Detention camp

High level committee visited Kokrajhar Detention camp
“There are detention camps only in Assam, but Centres being set up in States/UT”: MHA
Assam man forced to rot in Detention Camp for over 3 years
Stories from beyond: NRC victims share their plight
Jailed in Detention Camp despite being Pregnant with one child and Breastfeeding another

28 deaths in detention camps, detainees down from 1043 to 988 in 9 days: Assam

Questions related to detention camps in Assam have been repeated, time and again, during the winter 2019 session of Parliament. Last week saw a question in Lok Sabha, where the government claimed to know the nationalities of the detainees and this week the government stated that there have been 28 deaths in detention camps and also made tall claims about the facilities provided to the inmates.

death in detention camps

Just recently, Sabrang India had reported upon government’s claims that as of November 13 there were 1043 foreigners in detention camps in Assam.  On November 27 again questions related to detention camps in Assam were asked and the MHA in response stated that as of November 22 there are 988 foreigners in detention camps in Assam and there have been 28 deaths in these camps so far!

This reply reveals that that the number of detainees have decreased by 55 detainees in mere 9 days. Reports from Assam, also reported in Sabrangindia, reveal that some of these detainees were released in accordance with Supreme Court’s order of May 2019 where the court directed the conditional release of those detainees who had completed more than 3 years living in detention camps. On November 25, a total of seven detainees from Bongaigaon District were released from the Goalpara detention camp last Thursday, Pratidin Sangbad reports. They are Ajwhar Ali (Oudubi village under Jogeeghopa police station), Ali Akbar (Satpara village), Saru Sheikh (Pallirtal), Manikjan Bibi ( Manikpur Hapachara), Niranjan barman (Abhayapuri), Nasiruddin (Merer char), Jalaluddin (Nasunguri). These seven detainees have completed more than three harsh years in Goalpara detention camp and have been released in accordance with the Supreme Court orders of May 2018.Still, 55 seems like a pretty high number of releases to be carried out just in a matter of 9 days!

If both answers by MoS (Minister of State) in Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are to be believed, 55 inmates were released from the 6 detention camps in Assam in a period of 9 days. The Ministry also mentioned that from the year 2016 up to 13.10.2019, 28 detainees have died either in the detention centres or in hospitals where they were referred.
 

Claims of “facilities” in detention camps

The government has also made claims that Government of Assam has spent Rs. 4.74 crores between 2009 to 2018 on detention camps in Assam. The Ministry further claims that “All the basic facilities including medical care facilities are provided to foreigners in the detention centres in Assam. Basic facilities include food, clothing, daily newspapers, television facilities in every ward, sports facilities, performance of cultural programs, library, yoga and meditation. Apart from regular health checkups, indoor hospital facilities in every detention centres are also available with medical staff. Medicines are provided by the district Health Services Authorities.”

However, as we reported on November 20, based on a report in Dainik Asom, a high-level committee set up by the Assam Government was compelled to visit the Kokrajahr Detention camp. The visit was meant to monitor and observe the conditions in the detention camp. The visit came fast on the heels of a recent death of a detainee in the detention camp, and the uproar around the poor conditions within. After visiting the camp, the principal of the committee and DIG of border branch Mr. Devajit Mukherjee told the media that they will submit the report on the visit after three months. Specfic suggestions will be incorporated and included in the report. He (Devajit Mukherjee ) also said that some more immediate steps have already been taken in case of Tezpur Detention camp. There are a total of 142 detainees in the Kokrajhar Detention camp. Among them 14 are children and 30 are new entrant detainees who have been included.


Reality check

However, these tall claims of the government fall flat when one hears stories from the ground, from the people released from detention camps, who have a completely different story to tell. Majibur Rahman who was recently released from a detention camp said, “The food was of a poor quality and my health deteriorated significantly during the course of my incarceration,”

A woman named, Rashminara Begum, who was pregnant and rearing a child at the time of her detention, recounted the horrors of living in a detention camp after having been released. She said that they were kept in the company of murder convicts and she constantly feared for her life and the life of her unborn child. She also recounted how one mentally challenged woman amongst the detainees was beaten up once for demanding food after the time for serving food was over and the prison staff instructed the murder convicts to beat her up!

Subrata Dey was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Goalpara detention camp leaving behind his wife Karuna, teenaged son Biki, young daughter Sucheta and mother Anima Dey.
His family was dependent on the income from his modest tea shop but now they are living hand to mouth with whatever they could earn by making and selling cloth bags. All four of them have been also excluded from the final NRC.


Related:
Seven Detainees of Bongaigaon District released from Goalpara Detention camp

High level committee visited Kokrajhar Detention camp
“There are detention camps only in Assam, but Centres being set up in States/UT”: MHA
Assam man forced to rot in Detention Camp for over 3 years
Stories from beyond: NRC victims share their plight
Jailed in Detention Camp despite being Pregnant with one child and Breastfeeding another

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