Make in India? Come April, India would have its Largest Detention Centre in Assam

New detention centres for ‘foreigners’ in Assam| Image Source - NDTV

What happens to those who fail to make it to the NRC? Most likely, they will be subject to one of the two fates – detention or deportation. This nightmare is set to be a reality as Goalpara in Assam has almost constructed a detention centre that can house 3,000 people, reports Al Jazeera.

Situated around 126 km from Dispur, the state capital, this detention centre in the remote village of Matia has an area of nearly 3,00,000 square feet. It is ironic that one of the roads to the centre passes through what is believed to be a ‘ghost mountain’. Does this signify that one who goes in might never be able to come out again? One never knows. 

The centre shall be equipped with a hospital, school, dining hall and recreational centre. A six feet wall shall divide the lodging areas of females and males. Thirteen blocks have been designed for the latter against only two for the former. Is there an inherent gender bias in architecture as well? There would also be six watchtowers for 24/7 security purposes, giving a panopticonic effect to the structure.

Assam already has a detention centre in Goalpara as well as in few other districts such as Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Kokrajhar and Tezpur. Since 2008, nearly a hundred deaths have been reported, including few suicides. In what seems to be a preparation for a pan-India NRC, all states have been asked to build such centres. As recently as December 22, 2019, Karnataka has opened one at a distance of roughly 40 km from state capital Bengaluru. However, states with non-BJP governments such as Maharashtra, Kerala, and West Bengal have stalled the process of allocating lands for the same. 

Both CAA 2019 and NRC are being censured for their anti-Muslim bias. Despite the Centre refuting claims of the interlinkages between NRC and CAA, political analysts, experts as well as scholars and academicians have raised apprehensions that Muslims are more likely to end up in detention centres because non-Muslims have CAA to grant them citizenship.

Would these detention centres be similar to the concentration camps in Nazi Germany? Is this decade going to mark a Holocaust in India? Let us hope not.


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