Admitting that detention camps had first been set up under the UPA, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, on Saturday, said that the camps had been set up on orders of the Assam High Court. He said that the difference was that the camps were set up under the Foreigners' Act and not the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was what the BJP government was doing, he claimed. He added that the UPA had set up camps to detain 100-200 people, not 19 lakh people.
"Detention camps were set under the Foreigner's act. Not under the CAA or NRC. The foreigners' act requires any person declared foreigner must be kept in a camp. The High Court directed Assam to set it up & the Central Govt provided the funds," he said in Thiruvananthapuram.
He added, "Today's context is different. Today, the camps are not being set up under Court orders but under NRC. We are talking of 19 lakh people. In 2012, the order was to set up a camp for 100-200 people. Did the UPA say of building camps for 19 lakh people?"
The politics around detention centres started after PM Modi said that there were no detention centres in Assam set up by his government. This was countered by former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi who shared a news clip showing the detention centre in Assam's Goalpara stating that the Home Ministry in 2018 had sanctioned Rs. 46.41 crores to construct it, which has allegedly been 70% completed. He further alleged that PM Modi was lying to the public.
The BJP countered this stating that the UPA government's Ministry of Home Affairs had admitted in 2011 that three detention camps were opened in Assam - Gaolpara, Kokrajhar, and Silchar where 362 people have been detained in these detention camps. Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi too admitted to their existence adding that they were needed as Bangladesh was not accepting genuine foreigners back in their country then. He has since then shifted the blame to BJP asking 'Why did they not stop infiltrators?'
On August 31, the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) state coordinator's office released the final NRC list. 3,11,21,004 Assam residents have been found eligible, while 19,06,657 Assam residents have been found ineligible. Under the NRC, a resident of Assam has to prove that they or their ancestors entered Assam before midnight on March 24, 1971. The 19 lakh exclusion is a major decrease from the over 40 lakh excluded in the second draft published on July 2018.