GUWAHATI: To harmonize the purpose and play down the negative psychological effect associated with the detention centres, the Assam Government has changed the nomenclature of the six of such centres for illegal foreigners to transit camps. The entire exercise has been carried out at the directive of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The six detention centres currently give shelter to 181 inmates, 61 of whom are declared foreign nationals and 120 are convicted foreign nationals awaiting deportation.
A notification issued by Niraj Verma, Principal Secretary in the Home and Political Department, said, "The nomenclature of the detention centre is changed to 'transit camp' for detention purpose", in partial modification of a June 2009 notification.
According to sources in the Home & Political Department, the inmates kept in the detention camps after the foreigners' tribunals (FTs) declaring them as illegal foreigners are not criminals. They have migrated to Assam for various reasons. Till they are deported to their original countries, such inmates are kept in detention camps.
"But it has been felt that the word detention camp gives a sense jail environment. The entire exercise is carried out to give a humanitarian outlook to detention camps and thus it has been renamed as a transit camp," the source said.
The detention centres, or transit camps as they will be called now, are located within the central jails of Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Jorhat, Kokrajhar, Silchar and Tezpur.
The first standalone detention centre to house 3,500 foreigners is under construction for Rs 46 crore at Agia in Goalpara district. Sources said once construction is completed the Agia centre will also be known as a transit camp.