GUWAHATI: Dispur has moved the Centre over the Supreme Court’s directive to Assam government for release of the Foreigner Tribunal (FT)-declared “foreigners” who have completed more than three years in the detention camps across the State. As per latest data, 1,133 foreigners are being detained in the six detention camps across the State. Of them, 335 persons have been already staying for more than three years in the camps while 769 other detainees have stayed there for more than a year. The detention camps are situated at the districts jails of Goalpara and Kokrajhar and the central jails in Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Tezpur.
Following directive from the apex court, the Assam government prepared the modality of terms and conditions for release of such FT-declared “foreigners”. The modality comprises the details as how to apply, conditions of release, and other criteria for the declared foreigners to legally get out of these detention camps.
Prior to preparing the modality, the State Home and Political department had sought opinion from the State Law department on the issue having legal implications. The Law department opined that to carry out the apex court’s order, necessary amendments are necessary to regulations and order related to the Foreigners Tribunal. However, as the subject basically falls in the Central List only the Central government can bring about the required amendments. Hence, the Home and Political department forwarded its draft modalities along with the observations of the State Law department to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
After the Home Ministry carries out the modifications to the Foreigners Tribunal Order and gives its nod, the Assam government will issue the notification for release of these detenues from the detention camps. Against such a backdrop, the Assam government will have to release above 300 detainees from the detention camps.
Earlier, Dispur had filed an affidavit with the Supreme Court stating its position that foreigners living for more than five years in the State detention camps can be released against certain set conditions. However, the apex court refused to accept that stand and on May 10 said that the detenues who were declared foreigners by Tribunals and kept in detention camps in Assam for more than three years may be released. The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, however, said that their release would be on certain conditions. These include execution of bond with two sureties of Rs 1,00,000 each of Indian citizens; a specific verifiable address of stay after release; biometric of his or her iris (if possible) and all ten fingerprints and photos shall be captured and stored in a secured database before release from the detention centres.
The court further stated that he or she (released ‘Declared Foreigner’) shall report once every week to the police station specified by the Foreigners Tribunal (FT); he or she shall notify any change of his or her address to the specified Police Station on the same day; and a quarterly report has to be submitted by the Superintendent of Police (Border) to the FT regarding appearance of such released declared foreigner to the Police Station concerned and in case of violation of condition, the detained foreigner detained foreign national will be apprehended and produced before the Foreigners Tribunal.