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Sikhs facing eviction in Shillong seek security

Dalit Sikhs of Shillong, facing eviction, have asked the local authorities to ensure their safety and security. File   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

The Mazhabi or Dalit Sikhs of Shillong, facing eviction, have asked the local authorities to ensure their safety and security besides the protection of minority religious institutions.

In a letter to the East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Isawanda Laloo on October 21, the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) comprising the Sikh residents of Harijan Colony or Punjabi Lane also sought “no intervention” by the district administration or any other authority in their case pending at the High Court of Meghalaya as well as the Supreme Court.

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“For the last 200 years, we have lived here peacefully, worked very hard to earn our livelihood and have contributed substantially to the welfare of the people of the area,” the letter by HPC secretary Gurjit Singh said.

He reacted to State Planning Board chairman Lambor Malngiang’s advice to the State government to not let any delegation from outside interfere in the Harijan Colony issue. “This is an insult because in India we can move around freely and this is what the Constitution says,” he said.

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Mr. Malngiang had opposed the visit of a delegation of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee after the issue of relocating the Harijan Colony residents cropped up a few days ago, with Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma saying the government was determined to vacate the area.

Mr. Singh also dismissed Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong’s statement that the high-level committee the government had set up to resolve the Harijan Colony issue had given the residents many opportunities to prove their ownership of the land.

Also Read: Shillong Dalit Sikhs to challenge eviction move

“He should show us the proof of when the committee gave us the opportunity to submit documents, when they served us a letter and when we received it,” he said.

Mr. Tynsong is the chairman of the panel on relocation of Harijan Colony residents. The State Cabinet had approved the committee’s report on October 7.

He said the State government will take possession of the 2.5-acre colony after paying ₹2 crore as a premium to the local chieftain or Syiem. “The government has already sanctioned this amount,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 6:22:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sikhs-facing-eviction-in-shillong-seek-security/article37122333.ece

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