Shillong Harijan Lane Conflict Will Soon Be Resolved; Assured Governor

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’ in Shillong asserted that Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik assured the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) that conflict related to the same will soon be resolved.

“We, the Sikhs, and the public in general are concerned about the Sikh settlement in Shillong which is about two hundred-year-old. I will be grateful if the Sikhs are assured of security and if thought best, an Army contingent is posted in the vicinity.” – asserted the letter submitted to SAD.

According to Shillong Times report, it was also learnt that Sikhs are eager to honour the Governor who is likely to visit the lane soon.

Meanwhile, Urban Affairs Minister, Sniawbhalang Dhar on Thursday asserted that process to relocate the employees of the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) is under process.

But the residents of the colony don’t want to leave the area.

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.

However, the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) Secretary Gurjit 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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