HC Order Will Be Followed On Harijan Colony Issue : Meghalaya Urban Affairs Minister

Posted in Featured, Meghalaya, Northeast

 

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The Meghalaya Urban Affairs Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar asserted that Meghalaya government will follow the High Court’s (HC) order on shifting of relocating residents from Harijan Colony.

Refuting all allegations made by the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) – an association representing the grievances of Dalit Sikh residents of ‘Punjabi Lane’ in Shillong, Dhar mentioned that relocation process of Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) staffs from Harijan Colony at Them Iew Mawlong is underway.

He also stated that employees belonging from other departments will be shifted after the concerned process is handled.

According to Shillong Times report, the exercise of shifting the staff will begin after the staff quarters are renovated. The state government will allot quarters to 128 employees.

“The SMB will need to renovate its present temporary office opposite Sherwood Bungalow after the shifting.” – he further added.

Earlier, 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 earlier 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.

Its worthy 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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