Several well-known social and political activists from across India fear that the “decision” of the Uttar Pradesh government to to convert an Ambedkar hostel in Ghaziabad into a detention centre will be used for detaining those who are declared foreigners after they are unable to prove their citizenship, insisting, this is happening on lines of the detention centres for alleged foreigners set up in Assam.
Pointing out that this is contrary to the claim by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who during the last Delhi state assembly polls had said that there are no detention centres in the country, the activists, who include Magsaysay award winning academic and social-political activist Sandeep Pandey and environmentalist Prafulla Samantara, winner of ‘green Nobel’, said, “Foreigners staying illegally in India and persons who will be left out of National Register for Citizens (NRC) will be detained here.”
The statement, also signed by Rajeev Yadav, Shreekumar and Anish Lukose of the People’s Politics Front; Ajit Singh Yadav of Lok Morcha; Lubna Sarwath of the Socialist Party (India); and ID Khajuria of the J&K Forum for Territorial Integrity, said, the purpose of the detention centre is to “keep Muslims perpetually under threat and in a state of fear”, adding, it also reflects “anti-Dalit mindset of BJP.”
The statement insisted, “The government should have been building more Ambedkar hostels. If the Ambedkar hostel in question was not being used the government should have made an attempt to ensure that Dalit girls came and stayed here. Instead of feeling ashamed of its ineptness in using the hostel for its intended purpose, the government is using its remaining unused as a pretext for converting it into a detention centre.”