(A fact-finding Report of PUCL)
In the wake of three Pakistani detainees giving a slip to an FRRO Sub-Inspector and running away from his custody after visiting a hospital in New Delhi, PUCL conducted a fact-finding enquiry at the Lampur detention camp in Delhi to learn about the conditions in the camp. Mr. Mahi Pal Singh, General Secretary of Delhi PUCL and National Secretary of the organisation visited the camp on January 6, 2010. A team of about fifteen FRRO and police officers was at that time present at the camp to strengthen security so that no detainee could run away from the camp, oblivious of the fact that the three Pakistanis had run away not from the camp but from outside and that nobody has so far run away from the camp.
Mr. Mahi Pal Singh was not allowed to see the inmates of the camp for two hours and the FRRO Officers did not allow him even to take the signatures of Mr. M.S. Khan (on the Vakalatnama), one of the detainees lodged there for nearly one year in spite of having completed his sentence for entering the country without valid visa documents, for filing a writ petition in the Delhi High Court in spite of repeated requests, thus denying the detainee the right to legal aid in gross disregard of national and international laws. It was after more than two hours that Mr. Singh could see the inmates from a distance after the team of officers left the place. He could gather the information regarding those lodged in the camp later in the day telephonically only.
The inmates complained that the conditions at the camp were in no way different from a prison and they were not allowed even to arrange the purchase of sugar and tea from the market. One inmate was so brutally beaten up by the police in the camp that he had sustained head injuries and had to be hospitalised and given stitches in the head. It is perhaps because of such conditions that the three Pakistanis, who ran away from the custody, did not want to return to the camp at any cost, although they were reportedly going to be deported to Pakistan within a week’s time.
There are seventeen Pakistani nationals lodged in the camp, one of whom had approached PUCL about six months ago for help. Delhi PUCL then conducted an inquiry and wrote to the National Human Rights Commission to intervene in the matter and get these people deported to their respective countries but the NHRC did not take any action on the complaint. The detainees have been waiting in the camp from two months to about four years, after completing their sentences for the offences they were charged of committing, to be deported to their country but nobody in the government or the NHRC has cared to listen to them. If we are sensitive to the welfare and rights of our own nationals living or detained abroad, we should also be sensitive to the human rights of foreign nationals living or detained in our own country.
The table given below gives the details of the detainees at the Lampur camp.
In the light of the facts stated above, PUCL demands:
1. that the inmates of the camp at Lampur be deported to their country at the earliest;
2. that a mechanism should be developed for a periodical review of the detainees at
various camps meant for the detention of foreigners and they should be deported
to their respective countries at the earliest;
3. that action should be initiated against the FRRO officers who were present at the camp on January 6, 2010 for denying a detainee his right to take legal aid in gross violation of national and international laws.
PUCL has also decided to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court in this matter because the detainee, Mr. M.S. Khan, was denied the chance to take legal aid (by signing the Vakalatnama).
(Mahi Pal Singh)
Secretary, National PUCL &
General Secretary, Delhi PUCL
270A, Patpar Ganj, , Mayur Vihar-I, Delhi-110091