Assam: All “declared foreigners” sent to detention centre


All “declared foreigners” in Assam were sent to the Matia transit camp in the Goalpara district, the state’s largest detention centre on Monday.

According to Assam Inspector General of Prisons Pubali Gohain, the last batch of 87 inmates from the Silchar detention centre was transferred to the Matia transit camp. “The transfer procedure is now complete, and the six detention centres in Assam will close,” said Gohain.


The transfer of detainees declared as foreigners began on January 27 with the transfer of 68 inmates from the Goalpara detention centre. Goalpara Deputy Commissioner Khanindra Choudhury said there are 217 declared foreigners at the new Matia transit camp.

“This figure changes very frequently with court verdicts and the deportation of foreigners,” he told PTI.  “Just three days ago, three Bangladeshis were sent back to their country from the Matia camp.”

In 2014, the Centre asked the Assam government to establish at least one special detention centre for “foreigners” so that they are not housed in jails among prisoners and undertrials.

Given the large number of people who would be excluded from the National Register of Citizens, the Assam government intended to build at least ten such centres. The Matia detention centre was the first of the intended ten camps.

Assam launched a National Register of Citizens in August 2019 with the claimed goal of distinguishing Indian citizens from unauthorised immigrants living in the state. Anybody who cannot show that they or their ancestors reached Assam before midnight on March 24, 1971, is not considered a citizen.

Approximately 19 lakh persons, or roughly 6% of the state’s population, many of whom are are Muslims, were left off the final list of citizens.


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