Karnataka may quickly have an illegal immigrant detention center. The state is already setting up one such center near Bengaluru in the developed phase. The purpose of the facility is to detain foreigners without adequate paperwork staying back.
In a written reaction to a question by Bengaluru Central MP PC Mohan, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said the Karnataka government notified the Center that they are in the process of setting up a detention center in the near future.
“For this purpose, the required police staff and other infrastructure equipment have been assigned and the necessary research is underway,” said Rai’s declaration.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had notified the Supreme Court in February that it had assigned Rs 47 crore to the Assam administration to set up a detention center that would be operational by 31 August 2019.
Several issues have been raised about the legality of detention centers, even as the Supreme Court is hearing a case on Assam’s detention centre.
The central government has the authority to detain foreigners and construct detention centers under the Foreigners Act, 1946, according to Mrinal Sharma, policy advisor, Amnesty International India, it is only to be used as a last resort.
“While Section 3(e) and (g) of the Foreigners Act of 1946 enables the Central Government to detain or hold a stranger in a specific location or restrict their movement, it also offers solutions to imprisonment. Section 3(f) permits the release of foreigners by entering into a bond with or without security. On the other side, Section 4 says that a person against whom a detention order has been issued must be restricted to a location subject to maintenance, discipline and penalty that allows for the building of detention centres. These powers have been delegated to state governments or FRROs by the central government, “she said.
She said, however, that widespread use of detention is not in accordance with international law, allowing detention to be used only as a last resort where it is essential, sensible, and proportionate to a legitimate goal of government.
Speaking to TNM, ADGP (Law and Order) Kamal Pant said TNM would set up only one detention facility in Karnataka, located in the Nelamangala taluk district of Bengaluru Rural.
“It was recognized the fundamental infrastructure. It was repaired. There is some extra work to be done that will be completed in the near future, “added Kamal Pant.
The work is coordinated by multiple organizations, including the Foreigners Regional Registration Office, the State Intelligence, which is the state government agency responsible for maintaining track of foreign citizens, the state police, which will be in charge of the detention center’s safety.
“For day-to-day administration, we will need someone to operate the center. This is most probable to become the Social Welfare Department’s duty. Besides that, we will have to follow the model of a correctional home and will consult with the Prisons department, ”ADGP Kamal Pant added.
Rai, in his response stated that the government had not maintained an accurate record of the number of illegal immigrants. However, he said that Karnataka government’s figures indicated that, 143 cases were registered against “illegal Bangladeshi nationals” in the state and “144 illegal Bangladeshi nationals have been deported” so far.
The Centre had issued instructions to all state governments and union territory administrations in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2018, to set up detention centres to restrict the movements of illegal immigrants to expedite the process of deportation.