In a shocking revelation before the Lok Sabha, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has admitted that over sixty thousand people have been declared foreigners ex parte i.e without them ever appearing before a Foreigners' Tribunal (FT).
The MHA was responding to six questions raised by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. The responses were made by G Kishan Reddy, Minister of State in the MHA. In its submission the MHA admitted, "63959 (sixty three thousand nine hundred fifty nine) persons have been declared foreigners through ex-parte proceedings by Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam from 1985 to 28th February, 2019."
According to the MHA, there are six detention centers currently operational in Assam. As of June 25, 2019 a total of 1133 people were being held in these facilities. Out of these 769 had been held for over a year and 335 had been held for over three years. The MHA also stated that free legal aid was being provided to detenues by the District Legal Service Authority. The entire submission may be read here:
Now, it is also noteworthy that as per a recent Supreme Court order, people who have completed a term of three years in a detention center are eligible to be released subject to certain conditions. Therefore, it remains to be seen if the MHA will act in accordance with the order and release over 300 people.
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