New Delhi: At least 50 foreign national inmates went on an indefinite hunger strike to protest against “slave-like” treatment at the detention facility in Lampur in Narela, in Northwest Delhi, which forms the city’s border with Haryana.
An Indian Express report said that the inmates alleged they were extorted at the facility and given poor quality food and expired medicines. They said they had written to the president, the prime minister and to the ministry of external affairs a number of times before going on strike.
An August 17 letter, accessed by the Indian Express, says the reason for the hunger strike is the “indefinite incarceration of three-thirteen months by the Indian Foreigner Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) without any court judgement.” The letter says, “We are not slaves nor goods for sale by the Indian FRRO” and alleges that extortion has been taking place in the name of “real deportation” for which charges range from Rs 70,000 to Rs 1,20,000.
Mohammad Qamar, a “Pakistan national”, and Onukawa Ugochukwu Bright, who is Nigerian, said that they had been wrongfully detained. Qamar said he was from Meerut, “I have been in custody for five years and I have been detained here for more than two years. I am not a Pakistani national. I was born in Meerut. My wife and five children live in Meerut,” he told the Indian Express.
Ugochukwu said he had a valid passport and visa when he was arrested, “The FRRO conducted a raid and arrested five Nigerian nationals last August. I was one of them. I told them that I was a student and I gave them my passport but they arrested me and brought me to this deportation camp. I have been here for a year,” he said.