Amidst the ongoing debate across the country over the implementation of National Register of Citizens, the Communist-led Kerala government will hold a headcount of foreigners imprisoned in the state to identify a building to set up a Foreigners’ Detention Centre.
Reportedly, the Department of Social Justice (DSJ) of Kerala has been entrusted with the task of setting up the facility. The DSJ has been awaiting the data on foreigners, who have been either convicted here or waiting to be extradited for various offences, for setting up the facility.
The department will look for a building for the facility only after they receive information regarding the number of such foreigners present in the state. Currently, no separate facility is available with the department to house foreigners. The new buildings will be taken on rent or constructed, said a senior Government official.
The DSJ has been unsuccessfully writing to the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) since June this year seeking information on the number of foreigners to identify suitable buildings to house them. The latest reminder seeking the data was sent to the SCRB on November 26 this year, an official said.
The state Home Department has asked the DSJ to set up suitable facility outside the prison premises and Police Department. It was also informed that a separate administrative set up should be created for manning the facility as the Police Department was facing acute shortage of staff.
Reportedly, the centre was meant for housing those who have illegally entered the country and those foreigners whose visa and passport have expired. The under-trial prisoners of foreign origin and those who have completed their jail term here and awaiting deportation may also be shifted to the facility.
The department is yet to receive any funds from the Central government to set up the centre. However, according to the officials, the funds available with the State government could be used for the purpose.