On December 22, 2019, while addressing a rally at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that there are no detention centres in India while referring to the implementation of National Register of Citizens. However, BOOM found his claim to be misleading.
Going through the relevant part of Modi's speech from the video footage of the rally, we found him claiming that there are no detention centres in India and that the opposition parties are spreading rumours about it.
The transcription of the relevant part of this speech (at the 1:32:00 mark) is as follows:
"Indian Muslims, whose ancestors are Indians, Citizenship Amendment Act and NRC have nothing to do with them. No Indian Muslims are being sent to detention centres, neither are there any detention centres in India. Brothers and sisters, it is a clear lie!"
- Narendra Modi, New Delhi, December 22, 2019
The previous and current government have on many occasions talked about detention camps in India for foreign nationals and illegal immigrants to "restrict their movements".
In March 14, 2018, then Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju was asked about the number of illegal immigrants housed in State-run detention centres in Assam along with a district-wise demographic data in the Rajya Sabha. He responded by stating that apprehended illegal migrants are to be kept in detention centres, pending deportation, and that the state did not maintain any data on the number of detainees.
"Detention and deportation of illegal immigrants is a continuous process. Pending deportation, apprehended illegal migrants are kept in detention centre. Details regarding number of persons declared as illegal migrants and detained in detention centre in various States/ Union Territories are not centrally maintained"
In July 24, 2019, Nityanand Rai, the current Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs went on to describe how the Government has prepared a "Model Detention Centre Manual" for all States and Union Territories to formalise the setting up of such detention centres aimed at "restricting the movement of illegal immigrants/foreign nationals".
"With a view to formalise the setting up of detention / holding centres in various States/ U.T.s for restricting the movement of illegal immigrants/ foreign nationals awaiting deportation, the Government has prepared a Model Detention Centre Manual and circulated to all State Governments/ U.T. Administrations on 09.01.2019."
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More recently, in December 2019, Rai stated in the Lok Sabha that there are currently 6 detention camps in Assam in Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Tezpur, housing 970 detainees.
When asked about whether those declared "foreigners" will be kept in detention centres after the NRC exercise, and for how long, Rai went on to state that the power to detain these individuals have been entrusted with the State governments. He also states that these individuals will be deported to their home country, but does not clarify what happens if the individual in question becomes stateless.
Going by the statements by members of the administration, it is aptly clear that detention centres do exist in Assam for "illegal immigrants", and more are being set up in the rest of the country.
The News Minute traveled to Nelamangala - a town 40 km away from Bangalore - to report on a newly built detention centre for illegal immigrants. State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai told The News Minute that information on illegal immigrants is being collected with a view on implementing NRC in Karnataka. There have also been news reports about the former Maharashtra government seeking to buy a three-acre plot in Nerul to build a detention centre.
As for what to expect from a nationwide NRC, stories coming out of Assam can help us set a good precedent.
Mohammed Sanaullah, a retired Army officer and a Kargil War veteran based out of Guwahati was infamously incarcerated when his name did not appear in the final NRC list. He spent 11 days in a detention centre at Goalpara.As PM Modi spoke about not having detention centres in India, Sanaullah told The Hindu, "So what is that place where I spent 11 horrific days called? If I had not been sent to a detention centre by the State machinery, maybe I am not a Muslim too."
Updated On: 2019-12-24T14:35:07+05:30
Claim Review : There are no detention camps in India.
Claimed By : Narendra Modi
Fact Check : Misleading