The construction of Assam’s largest detention centre is going on in full swing at Matia.

Although Assam government said people excluded from the National Register of Citizen (NRC) will neither be detained nor branded as foreigners, the construction of the detention centre has added to the fear of the people in last couple of days.

The NRC published on August 31 has excluded over 19 lakh people, who now have to knock the Foreigners’ Tribunals’ door within 120 days of time to ascertain their Indian citizenship.

They can move higher courts subsequently.

Assam government is constructing ten detention centres to house the foreigners who will be detected once the process is over.

The construction of the largest such detention centre has already began at Matia in Western Assam’s Goalpara district.

The construction works for the rest nine centres at Barpeta, Dima Hasao, Kamrup, Karimganj, Lakhimpur, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sivasagar and Sonitpur are yet to be started.

An estimated cost for the ten detention centre is Rs. 1000 crore.

“I am a genuine Indian citizen but my name is not there in the NRC. I am an illiterate person. Whatever documents I have I have submitted. Now I don’t know what to do?” said Sakina Begum, a resident of Khutamari village.

Sakina Begum

Sakina and many others like her in Goalpara district who have failed to make it to the NRC are scared by the reports of construction of the detention centres by the government to keep the excluded people.

Sakina’s house is hardly 30 kms from the under construction detention centre at Matia.

Sakina, whose forefathers migrated to Assam several decades ago, was identified as a ‘Doubtful’ voter during the revision of electoral roll in 1997.

Although she pursued her case in the Foreigners’ Tribunal and the Tribual had in 2016 declared that she is not an illegal migrant yet her name is not included in the NRC.

“I am not scared but then I also keep on hearing that the government is building detention centres. Who wants to go to detention centres leaving the family? I don’t know what is going to happen with me,” said a visibly worried Sakina.