Residents of Assam cramped up in detention camps, deprived of right to work

Mumbai: Hundreds of Assam residents are being held in detention camps for various flaws and missing information in their legal documents, according to the report by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a Human Rights movement. These detainees are facing conditions worse than prisoners with insufficient water supply, food and no right to work.

Some people have been moved to the detention camps because their names do not appear in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) or the National Population Register (NPR). They share the camp with some illegal immigrants who have been living in Assam for several years.

According to the report, some people were moved to these camps because of some minute errors in their documents. Saken Ali, a detainee who spent five years in a camp, said, “There was a spelling mistake in my name where my name was written as ‘Saken’ on one document and as ‘Sakhen’ on the other. I spent five years of my life in the camp without any kind of employment or any source of income, only because of this spelling mistake.”

Detainees revealed, unlike prisoners who get a chance to work, they have been deprived of their right to work or perform any skill-based activity in the camp. Another female detainee said, “We are not allowed to work or perform any kind of activity. In fact, we are given two meals a day which is insufficient and minimal water supply, which is pathetic. Some of women are pregnant, sick or have mental issues, but there is no special care for all of these.”

They said, six detention camps are functioning alongside prisons in Assam. A senior member of CJP said, “Detainees do not know when they will be released from these camps. Some even have died under mysterious circumstances.”

Last year, over 282 people were declared ‘foreigners’ by a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) in Assam without any record of due process, reasoning or a signed order.

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