Mumbai News: New Detention Centre To Open At Dadar's Bhoiwada For Illegal Migrants

Mumbai News: New Detention Centre To Open At Dadar's Bhoiwada For Illegal Migrants

In the last couple of years, Mumbai Police has arrested several illegal migrants.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Sunday, March 31, 2024, 11:14 PM IST
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City to soon get a detention centre at Dadar’s Bhoiwada area where foreign nationals who enter the country illegally, will be kept until they can be repatriated back to their home country.

According to top officials of Mumbai Police, the proposal for a detention centre was sent to the Maharashtra Government, which was approved soon after. The Public Works Department (PwD) was handed over the responsibility of constructing the detention centre building. The land next to Bhoiwada Court at Dadar East was finalized, with the quotation of 5 crore estimated.

“The opening of the detention centre will be a crucial move. For now, the illegal migrants are kept at the police stations, under the eye of the Anti-Terrorism Cell, but it's a challenge because of the fear of them escaping custody,” said an official.

Bangladeshi Nationalist Escape From Police Custody

Last year, in November, a Bangladeshi nationalist who was kept in the custody of the Kalachowki police station, allegedly escaped and had gone missing for over a week before the police caught him. Following the incident, the on-duty officer was reprimanded for causing negligence. “The officials at ATC have several duties and tagging along an illegal migrant just burdens them more. Hence, the detention centre will slightly reduce their burden, and the migrants can live peacefully in a better environment unlike police custody,” the official added.

As per standard operating procedure, illegal migrants are charged under the Foreigners Act, of 194the nearest border point and handed over to the Pakistani authorities for deportation. The process of deportation for Bangladeshi nationals involves coordination between the police, BSF, and immigration authorities, while for Pakistani nationals, it involves coordination between the police and Pakistani authorities. Amritsar from where they are sent back to their home,” explained a senior IPS official.

Numerous Arrests Made In Last Two Years

In 2023, more than 367 individuals - both Pakistanis and Bangladeshi nationals - were caught by the Mumbai Police. Out of these, several were deported back to their home countries. In 2024, up till March 25, at least 39 were caught, and their deportation process has been initiated. In cases like these, Mumbai Police’s Special Branch - 1 along with the local police station’s ATC, work together to fulfill the SOP and begin the deportation procedure.

Mumbai Police urges citizens to follow the ‘Tenant Verification’ process. Here, the property owner, before he leases or rents out the property to another individual (tenant) has to submit the details of the tenant to their local police station’s ATC. “No Police NOC is required for renting the flat or house. However, citizens should provide information about their tenants - like their basic information with documents - at the local police station, or by applying online at Mumbai Police’s official website. This will help avoid any untoward incidents that can breach the nation's security,” said an official.

In the last couple of years, Mumbai Police has arrested several illegal migrants.

Challenges For Police In Identifying Illegal Migrants

According to police sources, the major reason why they enter illegally is to “earn money to cater for their family”. A police source said, “They want to make money. They send the money to their family back to their homeland. Over time, they dorn the look of Indians, they speak like us so much that they cannot be differentiated from Indian citizens. Intelligence agencies have specific procedures which help us identify them but to reach them, citizens should assist the police, to help police trace illegal migrants.”

According to officials, detention centres are different from prisons, hence no prison staff will be deployed here. “These centres are only for illegal migrants, or foreign nationals who have overstayed their visa limits. They will be detained up till the process of deportation is complete,” said an official.

Recreational Activities At Detention Centre

The said detention centre will have recreational activities like board games, television, and also a library for the detainees. An estimated figure of detainees that can be placed at Mumbai’s first detention centre will be not more than 100 to 150. “The detainees won’t stay long, as they will be relieved after the deportation process is completed. Moreover, we do not want to overcrowd the process, so not more than 150 detainees will be placed inside,” the official added.

Surging Number Of Illegal Migrants Raises Concerns

Meanwhile, at Navi Mumbai, the police commissioner Milind Bharambe said that the number swelled since the action taken by Navi Mumbai police is more. About having any detention centre in the satellite city where the arrested Bangladeshis are kept, Bharambe said no such centre exists in Navi Mumbai as of now. “The government has proposed to start two detention centres in the city, but nothing has happened yet. Right now, we do not have any place where these people are kept,” the police commissioner concluded.

(With inputs from Bhalchandra Chorghade)

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