Disclose Contents Of Tripartite Lease Agreement Before Evicting Sikhs From ‘Punjabi Lane’: Meghalaya HPC

Posted in Featured, Meghalaya, Northeast

 

  • NET Web Desk

The Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC), an association representing the grievances of Dalit Sikh residents of ‘Punjabi Lane’ urged the Meghalaya Government to hold pre-condition talks with these locals, who have been facing the issue of forcible eviction.

Recently, the Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma deliberated that residents of this lane will be shifted to government-designated accommodations in a phase-wise manner.

According to official statement, the first phase will deal with land ownership.

In the second phase – municipal office will be shifted.

Meanwhile, the third phase deals with shifting of the government employees into government-designated locations. And fourth phase is related to holding bilateral talks to sort-out the issue in an amicable manner.

“The residents of the colony never received an invitation from the High-Level Committee [that the Government formed to find ways of resolving the issue). On the contrary, we were constantly given veiled threats of forcible eviction,” – noted the HPC Secretary Gurjit Singh in a letter written to the CM.

Besides, Mr Singh condemned the state government for not revealing any contents of the tripartite lease agreement, which was signed between Meghalaya Government (first party), Syiem of Mylliem (second party), and the Shillong Municipal Board (third party) on March 31, 2021.

On the basis of this agreement, the state measuring 12444.13 sqm situated at Shillong has been formally handed over to the first party, i.e., state government.

According to HPC, the state government has not revealed the points mentioned in this agreement, even after the filing of Right To Information (RTI) Application.

It further reminded the state government of 2019 Meghalaya High Court (HC) order, which asserted that state government cannot disturb these Dalit Sikh residents, without any civil proceedings.

It is pertinent to note that several indigenous Khasi civil society groups for more than two decades, have been demanding for eviction of Sikh people from the lane, who have been residing there since British times.

The government of Meghalaya has always stated that the locality, also known as ‘Punjabi lane’ is actually the property of Shillong Municipal Board (SMB).

Furthermore, residents of Punjabi Lane claim that the local Syiem (head) of Mylliem (village) had given them the piece of land in 1863 to settle there permanently after an agreement between the Raja of Mylliem and the British administration was reached.

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