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Four-member Delegation Meets Meghalaya Home Minister to Push for Sikh Security, Stop Relocation

It has been one year since clashes broke out at Harijan Colony (Them Iew Mawlong) Shillong. The Shillong Municipal Board had served notices for the inventorisation on the committee’s directions.

Purbasha Bhattacharjee | News18

Updated:June 14, 2019, 3:31 PM IST
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Four-member Delegation Meets Meghalaya Home Minister to Push for Sikh Security, Stop Relocation
Picture for Representation. (Reuters)

Chandigarh: A four-member delegation from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee met Meghalaya Home minister James Sangma demanding security for the residents of the Sikh community living in Harijan colony in Shillong.

The delegation included SGPC members Harpal Singh Jalla, Advocate Bhagwant Singh Sialka, SGPC’s additional secretary Paramjit Singh Saroa and Simarjit Singh.

Commenting on the role of the high-level committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, which is tasked with exploring ways and means to relocate the genuine settlers of the Harijan colony, Jalla said, "The entire Sikh community of the country stands united with them if the government tries to relocate the inhabitants of the Harijan colony."

It has been one year since clashes broke out at Harijan Colony (Them Iew Mawlong) Shillong. The Shillong Municipal Board had served notices for the inventorisation on the committee’s directions. Notices were put up on shops, as well as, on the walls of houses asking the residents to provide proof of their legitimate right over the land. Following this, the Harijan Panchayat Committee demanded the withdrawal of the notices within a week else a contempt case will be filed against the SMB.

Meanwhile, HNLC, a proscribed outfit, has threatened to take ‘military action’ if the HPC does not withdraw its deadline to the SMB.

“The Home Minister has assured the delegation that the government will ensure the safety of the residents and settle the issue. The delegation has conducted an inspection in the area and we feel that the people living there should be allowed to construct new houses as per modern technique as at present the place is like a slum area,” Sailka told News 18.

When asked to comment on the construction of quarters for the employees of the

SMB, Bhagwant, said, "Quarters are not the solution to the problem. They should be allowed to make their own houses."

He pointed out that the Sikhs have been residing in the present location since 1853. Further, the Meghalaya High Court had passed an order in favour of the residents and despite that notices were issued by the SMB asking for details which are already with the government and concerned departments, he added.

In a memorandum to the Home Minister, the SGPC urged him to intervene and issue appropriate directions to the local administration not to take any "unlawful step or illegitimate action so as to dispossess/dislocate/relocate/remove the local Sikh families from their respective houses."

"These Sikh families have worked hard for the betterment of the state and at this stage, it becomes the duty of the state not to remove them," the SGPC said.

Home Minister Sangma has assured adequate security for the inhabitants of that locality.

“I have reassured them that the department is taking the matter seriously and the police have taken measures to increase security and we are monitoring the situation,” he said.

Despite assurances, the delegation maintained that there is no change in their stand.

The SGPC delegation’s visit to the state came on a day when the Chief Secretary, P S Thangkhiew, met Union Home ministry officials in Delhi and presented a status report regarding the matter.

The report said that the residents of Harijan Colony are safe and the government has made adequate arrangements for their security. Sangma said that the government would protect the lives of people regardless of their community affiliation and would not allow anyone to vitiate the environment.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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