P Chidambaram explains why Congress set up detention camps in Assam

By: |
December 28, 2019 6:45 PM

The whole debate on detention camps started after Prime Minister Modi said that there were no detention camps in the country as was claimed by the opposition parties.

P Chidambaram said detention camps in Assam constructed on the direction of High Court. (Reuters)

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday said that the detention camps set up during the Congress-led UPA government are different from that of current camps that are coming up to house people affected by NRC (National Register of Citizens). He said detention camps in Assam were set up under the Foreigners Act, not in the context of Citizenship Amendment Act or NRC. “The Foreigner Act requires any person who is detected as a foreigner must be kept at a camp. And there was a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) and High Court directed Assam to set up the camp. The central government provided the funds. So that is the context,” the former finance minister said.

Highlighting the difference between detention camps that came up under Congress and new camps under BJP, Chidambaram said: “The context today is very different. We are not setting up camps under the Foreigners Act. We are not setting up camps under the directions of the High Court or Supreme Court. They (Centre) want to set up a camp by virtue of the NRC. In Assam, the camps are being constructed because of the NRC. In 2010, if some order has come – please set up a camp, it must have said ‘set up a camp for 100 or 200 people’. Did they (Congress) want to set up camps for 19 lakh people?”

Chidamabaram was referring to 19 lakh people who could not prove their ancestry in the recent NRC exercise in Assam. He further said the camp is meant for declared foreigners who are kept in a secluded cell inside a jail. “But today we are talking about 19 lakh people in one state. Is that what UPA said – Bud camps for 19 lakh people?” the Congress leader asked.

Chidambaram further asked the central government, where will it build the camps for 19 lakh people and what would be the cost of it. “Neither the prime minister of home minister answering this question — what are you going to do with 19 lakh people,” he said. The whole debate on detention camps started after Prime Minister Modi said that there were no detention camps in the country as was claimed by the opposition parties. Hours after his statement, the opposition accused PM Modi of lying and came up with details of some camps that are coming up in Assam.

The BJP hit back at the opposition saying all the detention camps in the eastern state were ordered to set up during the Congress government.

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