SHILLONG: After the government's decision to proceed with the relocation of residents from Them Metor, the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) has stated that they will fight till the end as relocation is not an option for them.
Speaking to The Sentinel, HPC president Gurjit Singh said, "We will fight and if there are dead bodies in our area also we will not allow the government to move them as we are staying and not going anywhere." He also stated that it should be known to all concerned that this was a fight for their survival and habitat, and they would spare no effort to win this battle of honour, dignity and legitimate rights.
"Everyone in the world knows about the Sikh community and once we are committed to something even if it means sacrificing our leave we are ready to do so," he said. Singh said that they had been residing in the area for the past 200 years, hence there was no question for relocation.
"There are other parts of the city which are congested, why does the government not relocate and beautify those areas? Why are the government's eyes hooked only on our area?" he said.
Singh further said that the tripartite agreement between the Government of Meghalaya, the acting Syiem of Hima Mylliem and the Shillong Municipal Board was patently illegal, malafide and a clear violation of the constitutional and fundamental rights of the residents of Punjabi Lane, whose forefathers came here some 200 years ago and who have served Meghalaya honestly and diligently doing manual scavenging and other menial tasks.