Delhi Sikh body seeks Meghalaya governor"s intervention to stop relocation of Punjabi Lane “illegal settlers”

  • | Thursday | 14th October, 2021

Shillong, Oct 14 (PTI) Accusing the state government of acting “beyond its jurisdiction” in trying to relocate non-government employees from Them lew Mawlong area or Punjabi Lane, a Delhi Sikh body Thursday sought Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik’s intervention to stop the proposed relocation of “illegal settlers” from there. The state Cabinet last week endorsed the recommendation made by a high-level committee (HLC) to relocate the “illegal settlers” of the area beginning with government employees shifting to their official quarters across the city. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee met Malik at the Raj Bhavan and handed over a memorandum, pointing out that there will be no other solution to the problem without his intervention. President of the Sikh body S M S Sirsa said in the memorandum that the proposed relocation of non-government employees from the area is “beyond the jurisdiction” of the state government and may lead to communal violence. “We hope… you will intervene on the submission made and provide the long settlers/Harijan community of the state an immediate solution”, it said. Claiming that the relocation efforts were “unilateral” and “highly unconstitutional”, Sirsa cited an agreement the settlers had allegedly made with the tribal chief besides court orders to support his claim. He also accused the state government of “instigating the peaceful dwellers without granting them an opportunity to say anything.,” Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had said that the settlers had not come forward with documents before the HLC, which was constituted to find a solution to the problem, to stake claim of ownership in the area. Among other recommendations, the HLC suggested shifting employees of Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) and other line departments, who reside in Them lew Mawlong, to their respective quarters across Shillong. The HLC was constituted in 2018 by the Conrad Sangma-led government to settle a land dispute. Violence had erupted in the area in June that year following an alleged attack on a bus driver. It led to the circulation of rumours on social media and internet services were subsequently withdrawn in the locality for a few weeks. Last week, the Harijan Panchayat Committee(HPC) which represents members of the Dalit Sikh community in Shillong had said it will “fight tooth and nail” to stop the government from carrying out the drive. HPC secretary Gurjit Singh had claimed the land was gifted to the Punjabis by the chief of Hima Mylliem -one of the chiefdoms in Khasi Hills. Laws in Meghalaya bar non-tribals from owning properties in scheduled areas. PTI JOP MM MM

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