Assam Detention Centers Renamed Transit Camps, Motive Questioned

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The Assam Government has officially renamed the Detention Centers, meant for “foreigners”, as Transit camps. The six detention centres house around 181 foreigners, many of whom await deportation.

According to a notice issued by the Principal Secretary of the Home and Political Department, Niraj Verma, “The nomenclature of the detention centre is changed to ‘transit camp’ for detention purpose”, in partial modification of a June 2009 notification. No official statement stating the reason behind this change has been brought out as of yet; however, political experts seem to believe that this change has been made in order to minimize the negative implications of the place. A change in the nomenclature would make light of the issue and make it seem less threatening.

However, many have called this a “cosmetic change’, implying that the change in the nomenclature is just that, a superficial change restricted to the name. This cannot play down the fact that 29 of these “foreigners” have lost their lives in custody. The change in name does not even clear out the legal ramifications clear, and does not give us answers to questions like “how long an inmate would be kept in transit, which means temporary stay,” as pointed out by Congress leader Bobbeeta Sharma.

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