GUWAHAT I:- Union minister of state for home Nityanand Rai on Tuesday told the Lok Sabha that the Assam government had been advised to release all non-Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh – “who have been forced to seek shelter in the state before December 31, 2014, with expired or without valid documents” – from detention centres.
Rai said under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, persons covered under this Act can submit applications for granting of citizenship after appropriate rules are notified by the Centre. He said the name “detention centre” has been changed to “holding centre”. He said as per information from Assam government, 761 detainees were released from these centres in the last three years.
Replying to a query by Assam Congress MP Abdul Khaleque whether the government had taken any initiative to release those declared foreigners belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist, Christian and Jain communities residing in detention camps, Rai said, “No specific instruction has been issued by the central government regarding the release of such migrants from detention centres after enacting the CAA.”
“However, in January, 2016, the Centre had advised Assam to examine the cases of all persons covered by various court cases filed in Gauhati high court and release them from detention centres if they satisfy the conditions and requirements of the two notifications issued by the central government on September 7, 2015, exempting such persons by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder,” Rai added.
Rai added that the Supreme Court had also issued a notification in July last, providing for conditional release of declared foreigners, who have completed more than three years in detention centres. In the top court’s order, time period, and not religion, is a criterion for release.
On whether the government will drop all pending cases before the foreigners’ tribunal of D-Voters, Rai replied, “The question does not arise at this stage as sub-section (3) of Section 6B of the amended Citizenship Act, 1955 provides that any proceeding pending against a person covered under Section 6B of the Act in respect to illegal migration or citizenship shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship to him.”
Replying to another Assam Congress MP, Pradyut Bordoloi, the MoS said as per information from the Assam goverment, it “has not constructed any detention camp in Assam exclusively to detain those who do not have documents proving their citizenship under NRC.”
Rai said that any person, not satisfied with the outcome of the decisions of the claims and objections during the preparation of final NRC, may appeal before the designated tribunal constituted under the Foreigners’ (Tribunals) Order, 1964, within 120 days from the date of such order and on the disposal of appeal by the tribunal, the names shall be included or deleted.