SHILLONG: The Meghalaya Cabinet has decided to relocate "illegal settlers" of Punjabi Lane in Them Iew Mawlong area in Shillong.
According to reports, based on the recommendation of the high-level committee, a panel submitted its report to CM Conrad Sangma, the latter told reporters that the process had been initiated to transfer the ownership of the land from the local tribal chieftain (syiem) to the state so that the government could take steps to evict Sikhs from the area.
Meanwhile, the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC), the representative body of Dalit Sikhs living in the Harijan Colony (also Punjabi Lane) vowed to "fight till last breath against the illegal, unethical and unjust action of the BJP-led coalition government".
In a statement, Gurjit Singh, president, HPC, said, "Poor Sikhs who have served the state are being made victims of forcible eviction under the pressure of land mafia since the previously inaccessible area is now a prime property." The HPC said the 2.5 acres of the colony land belonged to the residents whose ancestors had come from Punjab two centuries ago.
The National Commission for Minorities, the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis had also ordered status quo and no relocation of anyone from that area, he said, adding the state government's claim that they will act on the HLC's findings by transferring government officials and others from the area is an obvious violation of these instructions, among other things.