A man lodged in a detention camp for declared foreigners in Assam died on Thursday due to "deteriorating health", days after another detainee passed away due to poor health. The incident has prompted the Assam government to review the conditions in state detention centres.
Phalu Das, 70, a resident of Satemari near Mukalmuwa of Nalbari district, had been in a detention camp in Goalpara in lower Assam since July 2017. He was admitted to hospital on October 11 after his health deteriorated; he was later referred to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) where he died during treatment.
Das' family has refused to accept his body and alleged that they were not informed about his health condition. The family further alleged that he was declared foreigner despite having all the documents.
On October 13, Dulal Chandra Paul, a 65-year-old man from Alisinga village of Assam's Sonitpur district, died in the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital also because of deteriorating health problem. His family alleged negligence on the part of the authorities led to his death.
The state government has formed a special review committee on the conditions prevailing in state detention centres. The Committee headed by DIG (Border) would comprise Inspector General of Prisons, retired District and Sessions Judge Hardeep Singh, one representative to be nominated by Deputy Commissioner of the district concerned and any other member co-opted by the Chairman, a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office said.
The Committee will visit all detention centres in the state and review the legal aid status and health status of each detainee and provide recommendation for improvement if needed and also review the quality of food, hygiene and living conditions in the detention centres, it said.
The panel will conduct the review urgently and submit its consolidated report within three months.
Assam published the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) in August 31 this year which excluded over 1.9 million people. Assam has six detention centres across the state where the Foreigners Tribunals send people prior to their deportation after declaring them as aliens while determining their citizenship.
These people might face statelessness if they fail to prove their Indian citizenship credentials in future.