Shillong: Members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) met Meghalaya Home Minister James K Sangma regarding the Harijan Colony issue, in Shillong on Thursday. They submitted a memorandum where they sought adequate security for the Sikh community residing in the city besides appraising the minister the stand of the local Sikh community on their residential status in the area that they have been inhabited since 1853.
Even as the SGPC members from Amritsar came to Shillong to show solidarity with the Sikh population of Shillong, they seem to be out of place when questions were raised on the illegal settlers in the colony situated in the heart of Shillong. SCPC member Bhagwan Singh Siala said, “What I know is that the residents doesn’t to be move out from the place keeping in view the legacy they have inherited”. However, when being pointed out that there are more illegal settlers than legal settlers, Bhagwan Singh dodged the question.
He was of the view that the settlers of Harijan Colony should be allowed to construct houses befitting to their earnings instead of living in a slum-like area. It is here that the big question comes into the fore. The State Government has long made arrangements for the legal inhabitants for more than a decade ago. Mentionably, their refusal to shift was followed by a litigation that challenged the proposed shift.
The State Government is making efforts to ensure the Sikhs under the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) live in better living conditions. The State Government’s persistence has not bore fruit and the interventions of other bodies from Punjab and New Delhi is expected to add more fuel to the fire.
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