Collective Against Detention (CAD) and Right to Nationality and Citizenship Network (RNCN), two rights watchdogs, unequivocally demand an end to arbitrarily declaring people as foreigners in Assam.

“We reject detention of declared foreigners as wholly illegitimate and demand their immediate release. We also hold that incarceration can never be a legitimate state response to migration and that no human being is illegal. We call upon the civil society to join us in this demand,” read the joint statement by CAD and RNCN.

On 27 January, India’s biggest detention center was opened in Matia, Goalpara district, Assam. 68 persons were shifted to the center, with more expected to be shifted soon. Sanctioned in 2018 by the Ministry of Home Affairs for Rs 46 crores, the 25 bigha center can house between 3000 to 3,500 persons. The camp at Matia will replace the six detention centers operating out of jails in Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, and Tezpur. As of September 2022, there are 195 persons in detention, out of which 42 persons are those declared foreigners by Foreigners Tribunals in Assam.

It should be noted that in 2021 the Government of Assam renamed detention centers “Transit Camps.”

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