In a report conducted by Al Jazeera, a 25-year-old electrician working in India’s detention camp in Assam, said in an interview, “Today I am working here. Tomorrow, it could be a jail for my brother-in-law.”
Ali’s brother-in-law failed to make it to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a list published in Assam this year which declared 1.9 million people as “illegal” migrants, who now face either detention in a camp like the one coming up at Goalpara, or deportation.
The Goalpara detention camp is nearly 300,000 square feet (28,000 square metres or 2.8 hectares) of land, and can house upto 3000 people. The centre is situated in a remote area of Goalpara with open land on its three sides and a road linking it to the main city of Guwahati in the front.
A resident said about the camp that, “Any person who goes to this detention centre will not come back.”
Besides a hospital, the centre will have a dining area, school, recreational centre, and two separate lodging facilities designated for male and female inmates.
Rabindra Das, an engineer with Assam’s police housing board and incharge of the construction of the detention facility said, “Male and female inmates will be kept in separate areas divided by a six feet red-coloured wall. There will be 13 male blocks of four storeys each and two female blocks of the same size.”
“The entire compound is surrounded by two walls, the inner being 20 feet high, followed by the outer wall six feet high,” Das added.
As a security measure, the detention centre has six watchtowers for round-the-clock monitoring, supported by a 100-metre high-beam light.