Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “liar” for saying that there is no detention camp in the country and claimed that the BJP-led government at the Centre had sanctioned Rs 46 crore for one in Assam’s Goalpara district.
“Modi is a liar”, Gogoi said at a press conference here referring to a rally by the prime minister at the national capital in which he had said there is no detention camp in the country.
“In 2018 the Narendra Modi government had sanctioned Rs 46 crore for constructing the largest detention centre at Matia in Goalpara district of Assam for housing 3,000 illegal immigrants. Suddenly he says there is no detention camp,” Gogoi said.
“Why did the BJP government in 2018 sanction Rs 46 crore? This shows Modi is a liar,” Gogoi asserted.
He said the Congress government which he helmed in the state had set up detention camps in Assam as per the directions of the Gauhati High Court in 2008.
Gogoi had led three consecutive governments in the state from 2001 to 2016.
“They (BJP) say these (detention) camps were set up by the Congress. We set them up as per the order of the High Court to detain people who were declared ‘foreigners’ by the Foreigners’ Tribunal,” he said.
The Congress stalwart said nobody is stopping the BJP government from deporting the illegal immigrants from Assam.
“Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal accuses Congress of being responsible for (the presence of) illegal immigrants.
“All right, then why do you not detect and deport them?
“Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had promised that illegal immigrants will be deported. Why have you not identified them? Who prevented you? Bangladesh wants a genuine list of its citizens in Assam and says it will accept them,” Gogoi said.
Hitting out at the BJP, he said though Sonowal had fought a case in the Supreme Court for repealing the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983, and his government is in power in Assam for three years, the Chief Minister has not deported illegal immigrants.
Gogoi said Assam was rocked by protests against CAA as the “state government was working in subservience to the Centre” and blamed Sonowal and his Cabinet colleagues Himanta Biswa Sarma and Chandra Mohan Patowary for the situation.
“The Prime Minister had promised that all foreigners coming to Assam after 2016 (when the BJP came to power in the state) will be weeded out. But, instead of deporting them, the BJP government has introduced CAA to bring in more foreigners,” he said.
The former Chief Minister said people across the country have hit the streets against CAA “understanding that the BJP government wants to polarise the people on religious and linguistic lines through the Act”.
On the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Gogoi said, “After witnessing countrywide stir against the NRC, Modi now says there is no proposal for a countrywide register of citizens. But, the Union Home Minister had informed Parliament that the exercise would be done across the country.”
Gogoi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “losing credibility because of his false propaganda” and pointed to the electoral debacles of the BJP in Maharashtra and Jharkhand to buttress his point.
Meanwhile, an engineer who claimed to be associated with the Assam Police Housing Corporation, that has purportedly undertaken the construction of the Matia detention camp, 150 km from Guwahati, said the facility will be ready next year.
The detention centre, work for which began in 2018, will have 15 four-storyed buildings and house 200 detainees in each. There will be 90 common bathrooms and toilets and a recreation centre, he claimed.
The engineer told a visiting journalist that 200-300 people are working every day for the construction of the detention centre.