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Bail for seven ‘foreigners’

One of the seven is a Hindu from Bongaigaon district who spent almost four years at a detention centre

By Gaurav Das in Guwahati

  • Published 22.11.19, 1:01 AM
  • Updated 22.11.19, 1:01 AM
The seven persons after their release on Thursday.
The seven persons after their release on Thursday. Picture courtesy: Ashraful Hussain

Seven inmates of detention centres in Kokrajhar and Goalpara, including a woman, got bail on Thursday after spending more than three years there for being declared “foreigners” by local tribunals.

The seven were released as part of the May 10 Supreme Court order which stated that detenues who have completed more than three years may be released based on conditions.

The order was passed on account of a PIL filed by peace activist Harsh Mander last year owing to the indefinite detention of people at such centres.

One of the seven is a Hindu from Bongaigaon district who spent almost four years at a detention centre.

The seven are out on bail with the execution of a bond with two sureties of Rs 1 lakh. Other conditions are that the persons specify their verifiable address of stay after release, register their biometrics along with all 10 fingerprints and photograph which will be stored in a secured database before release from the detention centres, report once every week to the local police station as specified by the tribunal and notify any change in address to the specified police station on the same day.

The seven will now be directed to appear before their respective police stations every week, with effect from Thursday, until further orders.

The superintendent of police (border) will have to submit a quarterly report to the foreigners tribunals regarding the appearance of the released persons to the police station concerned and in case of any violation, the declared foreigner will be apprehended and produced before the foreigners tribunal.

“I am relieved now but my difficulties are far from over. My son had to mortgage the land patta to secure the bond money. I have to rebuild my life. I spent three years and four months there,” 50-year-old vegetable seller Jalaluddin Sheikh said.

The PIL was filed under Article 32 of the Constitution “challenging the infringement of rights under Article 14 and Article 21 of those persons declared as foreigners by foreigners tribunal in Assam and held in detention indefinitely pending their deportation”.

Mander said, “I am a little satisfied but there are many more who are still languishing. We need to have strong compliance with international standards when it comes to detention and with standards based on international law. Three years is a long time.”.