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35 Detention Centres Ready In Karnataka, BJP Govt Tells High Court

The State government on Thursday informed the High Court of Karnataka that it has identified 35 spaces for temporary Foreigners Detention Centres (FDC) in all the districts for lodging alleged undocumented immigrants after they are either released on bail or on completion of imprisonment.

The government’s response came after the court asked the state government to spell out its plan for detaining alleged undocumented immigrants in the state. The court has given the government time till November 26 to file an affidavit with details of detention centres in the state and plans to detain immigrants who do not have the required paperwork.

The government also told the court that 612 cases had been registered against 866 foreigners for overstaying their visa period, and for violation of various laws, including provisions of Indian Penal Code. According to the government, these foreigners will be shifted to detention centres in the districts.

Submissions in this regard were made before Justice K.N. Phaneendra, while hearing a bail plea filed by Babul Khan in September 2019 for 14 Bangladeshi immigrants and one Burmese immigrant arrested in August 2018 in the Sarjapur police station limits in Bengaluru.

Justice Phaneendra also said that he was concerned about the status of alleged undocumented immigrants after they are released on bail since they would still be undocumented in the eyes of the state. “Their human rights must not be violated,” he said and sought a guarantee from the state that their basic needs would be taken care of in the temporary locations where they are being held.

The hearing of the case comes at a time when Union Home Minister Amit Shah declared that the National Register of Citizens (NRC), first implemented in Assam, will be carried out across the country.

Over 19 lakh people were left out of the final NRC list published late last month in Assam. The National Register of Citizens was first prepared in Assam in 1951. To prove their citizenship, people in Assam have to show documentary evidence that they or their ancestors were born in Assam before March 25, 1971, which has been set as the cut-off date.

In July, Karnataka was the first state after Assam to announce its intention to build detention centres to hold alleged undocumented immigrants. The state also announced the implementation of NRC similar to the in Assam, before shelving it.

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