Centre may let NGOs adopt prisoners who canít be repatriated

The Centre plans to allow NGOs and citizens to adopt foreigners who have served their prison terms but, because their nationalities have not been confirmed, have nowhere to go.

Citing, specifically, the cases of two persons ó Abdul Sharif and Shukla Ghosh ó who could not be repatriated because the countries of their origin did not confirm their nationalities, the Home Ministry has, in an affidavit, told the Supreme Court that it has appealed to the Punjab government to "examine as to whether any NGO or Indian national would take responsibility and provide food, shelter so that action can be taken to release them from the detention centre."

The affidavit, which will come up for perusal by a bench led by Justice R M Lodha Thursday, has been filed after the court expressed displeasure over the Centre's failure to repatriate foreigners who are languishing in jails despite completing their sentences. The ministry, the affidavit said, is awaiting confirmation of the nationality of 24 such prisoners from the Pakistan High Commission. Four persons could not be repatriated because Pakistan did not confirm they were its citizens.

In the case of Sharif, the court had said it was "pained and concerned" to know that he had completed his term in 1997 but was still awaiting his repatriation. Sharif was arrested by the BSF at Kahangarh near the border with Pakistan in April 1997. He is now in a detention centre in Amritsar. Ghosh completed her jail term in 2000. Both are paid Rs 100 a day as compensation, besides an annual grant of Rs 10,000, the ministry said.

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