‘How’s it human’: India’s largest detention centre almost ready

Ali, 25, is an electrician working at India’s largest detention centre currently under construction in Assam state’s Goalpara district in northeast India.

As he takes a break from his work to rest in front of the centre’s hospital block, a thought occurs to him.

“Today I am working here. Tomorrow, it could be a jail for my brother-in-law,” he says. “It will ruin my sister’s family.”

Ali’s brother-in-law failed to make it to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a list published in Assam this year which declared 1.9 million people as “illegal” migrants, who now face either detention in a camp like the one coming up at Goalpara, or deportation.

Spread around nearly 300,000 square feet (28,000 square metres or 2.8 hectares) of land, the detention centre in Goalpara’s Matia village, 126km (78 miles) from state capital Dispur, can house 3,000 people.

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