The Assam government has initiated the process to move declared and suspected foreigners in Goalpara district's newly built detention centre, renamed a transit camp, a senior official said on Sunday. As many as 68 inmates were shifted to the transit camp, including 45 men, 21 women, and two children, one girl, and a boy on Friday, Superintendent (In-Charge) of the Transit Camp, Sashi Kumar Deka was quoted saying per media reports.
The largest detention centre in the country, constructed on 22 bighas of land (over 7 acres), 125 km away from Guahati in Goalpara's West Matia on a budget of Rs 46 crore became operational two days ago and has the capacity to house 3000 inmates, including 400 women. Assam had six detention camps prior to the new "transit camp", which were carved out of existing jails in Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Jorhat, Silchar, Dibrugarh, and Tezpur.
The Gauhati High Court in August 2021 gave the Assam government 45 days of time in order to finish the construction work of the unit, which started to be constructed in December 2018. Niraj Verma, Principal Secretary of the State Home Department had earlier said that the "human touch" has been given to the camp at its completion, which will include a school, creche, and a hospital.
Inspector general of prisons, Barnali Sharma told TOI, "In the next few phases, as per government instructions, we will shift the 'declared foreigners' lodged in five other transit camps in Dibrugarh, Silchar, Jorhat, Kokrajhar and Tezpur jails to Matia."
“All these 68 inmates were shifted from the Goalpara jail transit camp. These were all declared foreigners by the Foreigners Tribunal (FT) in cases of ‘D’ (Dubious or Doubtful) voters," Deka said as per a News18 report.
A senior Assam Prison Headquarters official also confirmed to PTI that Goalpara District jail will not inhabit any inmates of foreigner cases after the shifting of these inmates to the new centre. “A case on detention centres is going on at Gauhati High Court. We will shift the other inmates lodged in the remaining five centres as per the court order and instructions from the state government," she added.
The official said that approximately 220 suspected and declared foreigners, including the 68 inmates shifted to the new transit camp, are lodged across various centres.