Matia Transit Camp: The First Transit Camp in Assam

The newly constructed Matia Transit Camp at Goalpara in Assam on Friday acquired its first batch of 68 foreigners.

A detention centre, which is now formally named a “transit camp,” is located 150 km from Guwahati. It’s the first ever transit camp to be constructed within the state below the rules of the central authorities.

State’s First ever Transit Centre

That is the primary heart to accommodate unlawful foreigners, as till now all of the detainees have been housed inside detention centres, that’s, inside jails. The individuals who have been moved to transit camps are these declared as foreigners by Foreigner Tribunals in Assam or these convicted by judicial courts for violating visa provisions.

As per Barnali Sharma, Inspector Common of Prisons, Assam, the primary 68 detainees encompass 45 males, 21 ladies, and two youngsters. All of them have been detected as international nationals.

Six detention centres

There are at present six detention centres in existence. the place two are within the district jails of Kokrajhar and Goalpara, and the opposite 4 are within the central jails of Tezpur, Silchar, Dibrugarh and Jorhat.

Goalpara District Jail Picture: Telegraph India

As per the state authorities’s information, by September 2022, the six centres collectively would have held 195 detainees. In a bid to humanise detention centres, the Assam authorities has modified the identify to ‘Transit Camp for detention goal’ in 2021.

The Matia Transit Camp

The Matia Transit Camp, the identify of the primary state transit camp, is nestled between farmlands and forests. It occupies 12.5 acres of land and was constructed with a price range of over ₹ 46 crore. It has the capability to maintain as much as 3,000 unlawful foreigners at a time.

All of the infrastructure and no matter services are wanted have been ready, with the minimal primary employees in place. The choice to switch the detainees got here after an order by the Gauhati Excessive Court docket in November final 12 months. The court docket ordered the federal government to make the Matia camp operational. The order was in response to a batch of habeas corpus petitions filed to problem the detention of foreigners in jail. It additionally sought the discharge of the detainees.

Listening to in Gauhati HC

The Assam authorities has typically come below scrutiny for its poor remedy and poor dwelling circumstances for detainees.

Since final 12 months, the Guahati Excessive Court docket has been consistently urging the federal government to shift individuals to Matia. Chief Justice of Gauhati Excessive Court docket R M Chhaya (now retired) and Justice Soumitra Saikia noticed that the transit camp was prepared and therefore ordered the federal government to rehabilitate them and make momentary preparations for medical and safety employees on November 17.

Gauhati Excessive Court docket Picture: Northeast Now

On November 29, Justice Chhaya ordered that each one the detainees be shifted earlier than December 15, 2022. The state authorities, in response, mentioned that the federal government had taken a aware resolution to make the camp operational, nevertheless it wanted extra time to deploy safety personnel. The following date for listening to is February 28.

Criticism towards Authorities

An official, talking on the idea of anonymity, mentioned that the delay in shifting the detainees was as a result of they’ve but to rent employees, although the constructing is prepared. The Matia camp has a faculty and medical services. The creation of services took quite a lot of time.

Activists in Assam have criticised the federal government’s transfer, stating that a lot of the detainees are solely declared foreigners and never convicted foreigners. And these declared foreigners can nonetheless enchantment to larger courts to show their Indian citizenship and probably get their names cleared. In keeping with activists, shifting the declared foreigners to Matia centre would quantity to their indefinite incarceration.