The Meghalaya Government is all set to take possession of the land at Harijan Colony soon following 'due procedures', Chief Minister Conrad Sangma announced after a Cabinet meeting.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that there were three main recommendations that came in which was regarding the ownership of the land at Them Iew Mawlong, shifting of the employees of the SMB, other departments and relocation of "illegal settlers".
On the recommendation related to ownership of land, Sangma said that the process of signing an agreement and taking possession of the land by the state government and the SMB from the Syiem of Hima Mylliem has already started.
The High-Level Committee (HLC) headed by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong has recommended the state government to shift the employees of the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) and other departments from the Sweeper's Colony at Them Iew Mawlong.
The Urban Affairs department has been asked to find locations for relocation of "illegal settlers" as per the report of the HLC, which was placed before the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma here on Thursday.
The report of the committee was submitted to the government on September 28.
Meanwhile, The Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) has rejected the state government's High-Level Committee (HLC) report on the relocation of the Sweeper's Colony.
"We will fight tooth and nail and stop all illegal acts of the Meghalaya government," vows HPC secretary Gurjit Singh said.
Responding to the statement of the Chief Minister that the process of taking over the land at Sweeper's Colony at Them Iew Mawlong will be completed within a week, Singh said, "We will fight for our rights till our last breath. We will die for our land and will not allow any illegal, unlawful, unethical and unjust action by the Meghalaya government."
Singh also warned, "the matter is sub-judice in the Supreme Court of India and the Meghalaya government would be committing a breach of procedures if it insists on going ahead with its illegal plans."
"We are the legitimate owners of the so-called disputed 2.5 acres of land, as it was gifted to our ancestors by the tribal chief Syiem of Hima Mylliem. No one else has the right to this land."
Singh further categorically stated, "the present Syiem of Hima Mylliem is being pressured by granting him ownership of a large chunk of the land. Under local laws too, he too has no authority to retake back a gift given by his predecessors."
He said that the tripartite agreement between the Syiem of Hima Mylliem, Urban Affairs and the Shillong Municipal Board has no legal locus-standi and is patently illegal.
Further, Coming into the picture, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Sunday said he will take up with the Union Home Minister Amit Shah the alleged move of the Meghalaya government to "evict" Sikhs living in Shillong.
"The Punjab government has intervened in the past and will intervene again, he warned," Randhawa said.
Meanwhile, The Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) has rejected the state government's High-Level Committee (HLC) report on the relocation of the Sweeper's Colony.Meanwhile, as a major relief for the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC), the National Commission for Minorities too has extended the support to the cause of the Sikh communities residing at Sweeper's Colony at Them Iew Mawlong.
The HPC has informed, "The Commission has taken suo-moto cognizance of the news reported in the print media regarding the decision of the State government of Meghalaya) to shift the employees of Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) and other departments of the government of Meghalaya from the Harijan Colony and to find an alternative location for relocating the "illegal settlers."
The NCM Chief Iqbal Singh Lalpura clearly states, "Accordingly the Commission has directed the Chief Secretary of Meghalaya to furnish a detailed report and to maintain status quo in the matter as directed by the Hon'ble High Court of Meghalaya."
"It is reliably learnt that the National Commission for Minorities has summoned the government of Meghalaya, with full records on 15 October 2021," HPC said.
Stating that the Harijan Panchayat Committee is glad to note that the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, has also taken suo-moto cognizance of the taking up of the High-Level Committee report by the Meghalaya government, he said, "the Commission has decided to investigate/inquire into the matter in pursuance of the powers conferred upon it under Article 338 of the Constitution of India."
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) spokesperson Manjinder Singh Sirsa has urged Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to reject the state government's High Level Committee (HLC) recommendations to relocate Dalit Sikhs from Sweeper's Colony in Meghalaya's capital Shillong.
Sirsa, who is also the president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, while tagging chief Minister Conrad Sangma, tweeted,
"Minority Sikhs of Meghalaya won't tolerate forced relocation from Punjabi Lane at Bara Bazar, Shillong by High Level Committee HLC is working in biased manner & we won't allow this injustice This action will have worldwide reaction Urging @SangmaConradJi to maintain status quo."
In another tweet he said, "You are well aware CM @SangmaConrad Ji that these recommendations of HLC to relocate minority Sikh families from Punjabi Lane are strategically planned just to appease majority group In view of protecting minorities interest, we urge you to reject these recommendations."
Reacting to all this, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said whatever steps that the state government is going to take with regards to relocation of the Sweeper's Colony from Them Iew Mawlong will be 'legally sound'.
"Whatever steps that we are going to take from now on, all the moves that we are going to make are going to be legally sound. Therefore, whatever decisions or any aspects of any action to be taken by the government will be based on proper documentation..," Sangma told reporters.
The Chief Minister however stated it is important to understand a few facts here and that it is after three years of detailed homework that the Meghalaya government has decided on the steps that it is going to take.
"It is important for individuals, the leaders from government of Punjab who mentioned that they will also be taken up the matter; they need to also understand that the ownership of the land is with the government in terms of the lease that has been signed with the Syiem of Hima Mylliem," he said.
"Once that happens, when legal documentation is there, the legal people who are government employees are being asked to go to the government residential places being provided to them. It is not that people are simply going to be left in the streets. So the people who are government employees who have been working with the Shillong municipal board and other departments who are staying in that area will be asked to shift to the official residential complexes of those departments," he added.
Sangma however said it is being made to look as if everybody is going to be thrown out which is not correct.
He asserted that one has to understand first that legal documents and the papers are with the government so therefore, whoever is staying there has to be in the terms of what the government decides.