Mumbai: Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has assured the Muslim community he would not allow detention centres to be set up in the state under the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise. He has also reportedly scrapped his predecessor Devendra Fadnavis’ decision to build the first such centre for illegal immigrants in Nerul in Navi Mumbai.
Thackeray, who met two delegations of Muslim politicians and clerics on Monday, said the community should not fear being asked to leave the state amid widespread protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. The new law excludes Muslims from an expedited process to acquire citizenship and has sparked fears that it would render Muslims stateless when NRC is rolled afterwards.
Thackeray told the delegation that misinformation is being spread about detention camps. “That is a system is for foreign nationals who have served their sentence for the cases related to drugs or other offences. These foreign nationals are kept in detention camps during the time till they complete their documentation process for deportation. So, there is no need to fear about it.”
He added that his government would not allow any detention camps in the state in connection with NRC and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) when concerns were raised during the meeting. Home Minister Eknath Shinde, Industry Minister Subhash Desai, and Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve were also present at the meeting.
While as many as 10 chief ministers have stated they would not allow NRC in their states, and two – Bengal and Kerala - have stopped on updating the National Population Register, Thackeray said there has been no decision on it.
“If it all such a law comes, it will not be only for Muslims, but for all religions,” he assured the Muslim community. He has earlier also stated that the Maharashtra government would decide on it after the Supreme Court hears the petitions against the CAA from January 22.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra chief minister also scrapped his Devendra Fadnavis’s decision to develop the state’s first detention centre for in Navi Mumbai, Mumbai Mirror reported. The three acre site in Nerul earlier housed the Navi Mumbai Police’s Women Welfare Centre and had been identified by the previous government’s home department to build the detention centre.