WB won’t allow detention camps for ‘foreigners’: Mamata
KOLKATA, Oct 22: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that her government would not allow building detention camps in the state to house those who would be excluded from Indian citizenship following any screening exercise to identify foreigners.
"There is no question of detention camps. They have to do it through the state government, but we are not going to do that. You can be rest assured about it. There will be no detention camp in Bengal," Mamata Banerjee said at an administrative review meeting in Siliguri of North Bengal.
Her remarks came after Surya Kanta Mishra, the state unit secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), threatened from a party gathering in Howrah district on Sunday that should the Centre try to build detention camps in the state, they would lead the people to demolish the structure(s).
On July 24, Union minister of state for home affairs Nityanand Rai, while answering a question in the Rajya Sabha, said, "With a view to formalise the setting up of detention/holding centres in various States/UTs for restricting the movement of illegal immigrants/foreign nationals awaiting deportation, the Government has prepared a Model Detention Centre Manual and circulated to all State Governments/UT Administrations on 09.01.2019."
During an interview with a TV channel last week, Union home minister Amit Shah said that the government was making preparations for building detention camps for illegal citizens.
Responding to Mamata Banerjee's Tuesday statement, BJP state unit president and Midnapore MP Dilip Ghosh said that Mamata Banerjee sounded like an empty vessel.
"She loves to talk big. Could she prevent implementation of GST, abrogation of Article 370 and the Triple Talaq Bill? She would not be able to prevent it once the process of National Register of Citizens is launched by the Centre."
The BJP has repeatedly said that the question of implementing NRC will arise only after the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which aims to grant citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from India's neighbouring Muslim countries, is passed in the Parliament. Mamata Banerjee, however, reiterated her opposition to the CAB from Tuesday's meeting in Siliguri.
"We have opposed CAB because it divides the people on religious grounds. We stick to our stand," she said. -HT