Goalpara: India’s 1st Detention Centre Under Construction

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Construction of India’s first detention center at Goalpara in Assam is in full swing for those declared foreigners after the publication of the contentious Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) which was published on August 31.

The citizens’ list to identify illegal immigrants in Assam has left out over 19 lakh people, leaving them to prove their citizenship.

The mass detention center in Goalpara district’s Matia can accommodate 3,000 people and is being built over an area of 2.5 hectares, about the size of seven soccer fields. The new construction will have 15 four-storey buildings to keep the detainees. The government expects the massive complex to be ready by December this year though rain had delayed the construction.

The new detention center will also have a hospital, an auditorium, a common kitchen and 180 toilets and washrooms. There will also be a primary school just outside the detention center.

A red-painted boundary wall encircles the upcoming camp, with the outer wall at 20 feet and the inner wall at six feet. The detention center will also have watchtowers.

According to officials, the Goalpara detention center will not be as rigid as a regular jail. A police officer said that there would be hostel-type rooms, each of which can accommodate four to five detainees. The rooms will have regular doors, proper lighting and ventilation.

The center has said that people whose names don’t appear in the NRC cannot be declared foreigners till all legal options are exhausted. Every person left out of the NRC can appeal to the Foreigners Tribunal and subsequently approach the courts. The time limit to file the appeal has been extended from 60 to 120 days.

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