Detention centres in Assam

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Assam Detention Camp are a group of immigration detention centers for illegal immigrants located in Assam.[1][2][3] The first detention centre in the state had come up in 2008 under orders of the Gauhati High Court.[4] Currently six immigration detention centres have been set up in Assam, all inside jails, in various districts of the state.[4]

A total of ten centres are planned to be built in Assam.[1][5] There are many in-construction or proposed detention centres to be constructed following the exclusion of people from the final National Register of Citizens of India.[6][7] In 2014, the Centre had told all the states to set up at least one detention centre for illegal immigrants so as not to mix them up with jail inmates. According to a ruling by the Supreme Court, illegal immigrants can be held for three years at such facilities, after which they are eligible for bail.[8]

The detention centers are commissioned as a place to house erstwhile residents who were excluded in NRC and finally declared illegal immigrants by the foreign tribunals of Assam.[9][10][11] More than 19 lakh people have not been included into the list of citizens created to identify the illegal immigrants in Assam. These people need to prove their citizenship failing which they may be moved to these centres.[1]


The first detention centre in Assam had come up in 2008 under orders of the Gauhati High Court.[4][12] They were first intended as a location for "short-term detention of undocumented immigrants, refugees and people awaiting trial before a Foreigner’s Tribunals".[13] But now they are "synonymous with endless captivity."[13] In 2011 the Assam government, when Congress was in power both at the Centre and in the state, had set up three detention camps[a] with hundreds of illegal immigrants.[14] In 2018, Rs 46 crore was sanctioned for a detention camp by the Narendra Modi government.[12]


On 27 November 2019, the Government disclosed that 1043 people were housed in six detention centres in Assam.[4][15] The existing centres are currently being run from the district jail premises at Dibrugarh, Silchar, Tezpur, Jorhat, Kokrajhar[b] and Goalpara in Assam.[17] On 17 November, The New York Times reported that the government had arrested several hundred people due to the suspicion of them being foreigners. A veteran of the Indian Army was also among those arrested.[18][19]


Trinamul MP Santanu Sen had asked the government in Rajya Sabha on what steps the government had taken to stop the deaths in the detention camps alleging that "most of the persons who died, they died out of apprehension". Responding to the question, minister of state for home, Nityanand Rai stated that so far, until November 2019, 28 people have died due to illness and not due to pressure.[15]

Matia (Goalpara) Detention Centre

Goalpara Detention Centre is located in Matia, Goalpara district, Assam.[14] It is India's first (and largest) detention center for illegal immigrants.[1] The detention center covers approximately 2,88,000 square feet (about the size of seven football grounds). It includes a school, recreational area and hospital.[2] It is planned to have fifteen stories.[1] The centre has been sanctioned by the Union Home Ministry in June 2018, which is funding the entire project.[8] The detention centre is planned to be ready by December 2019.[1] Two boundary walls painted in red colour encircle the camp. The outer wall will be at 20 feet and inner wall at six feet. Watchtowers are also a part of the structure.[1]

See also


  1. ^ Goalpara, Kokrajhar and Silchar
  2. ^ 142 detainees including 14 minors are kept in the Kokrajhar detention center as of November 2019.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Choudhury, Ratnadip (12 September 2019). "India's 1st Illegal Immigrant Detention Camp Size Of 7 Football Fields". NDTV. (with inputs from Reuters). Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  2. ^ a b "Final NRC status: 15 buildings, schools, hospital in India's first detention centre for those not in Assam NRC". Hindustan Times. 2019-09-14. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  3. ^ "Assam NRC: Workers at India's first detention camp for illegal migrants may end up there". India Today. 8 September 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  4. ^ a b c d Dutta, Prabhash K. (27 December 2019). "NRC and story of how Assam got detention centres for foreigners". India Today. Retrieved 2019-12-27.
  5. ^ Samuel, Sigal (September 17, 2019). "India's massive, scary new detention camps, explained". Vox.
  6. ^ "938 persons detained in 6 detention centres in Assam, 823 declared as foreigners: Centre to SC". The Economic Times. PTI. 2019-02-19. Retrieved 2019-09-14.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ "Assam seeks 10 more detention centres to hold 'illegal foreigners'". Hindustan Times. 2019-06-15. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  8. ^ a b Kalita, Prabin (8 September 2019). "Centre funding country's biggest foreigner detention centre in Assam". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  9. ^ Choudhury, Ratnadip (12 September 2019). Varma, Shylaja (ed.). "India's 1st Illegal Immigrant Detention Camp Size Of 7 Football Fields". NDTV. Reuters. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  10. ^ Perper, Rosie (12 September 2019). "India is building a mass detention center for illegal immigrants, less than a month after it effectively stripped 1.9 million people of their citizenship". Business Insider. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Assam gets central nod for new detention camp for 'declared foreigners'". Indian Express. July 25, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "PM Modi lying about detention camps, sanctioned Rs 46 crore for one in Assam in 2018: Tarun Gogoi". The Times of India. 27 December 2019. Retrieved 2019-12-28.
  13. ^ a b Laskar, Tahmina (7 February 2019). "Detention Centres in Assam Are Synonymous With Endless Captivity". The Wire. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Rahul Gandhi says PM Narendra Modi lying about detention centres, tweets video from Assam". India Today. 26 December 2019. Retrieved 2019-12-27.
  15. ^ a b "28 deaths in Assam's detention camps, minister tells Rajya Sabha". 27 November 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Review committee visits detention center". Assam Times. November 19, 2019.
  17. ^ Maanvi (22 December 2019). "PM Modi's Claim That India Has No Detention Centres is Misleading". The Quint. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  18. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey; Kumar, Hari (17 August 2019). "India Plans Big Detention Camps for Migrants. Muslims Are Afraid". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  19. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey; Kumar, Hari (18 August 2019). "India plans big detention camps for migrants and Muslims are afraid". SBS News. NYT.