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Akali Dal rejects Meghalaya’s panel report to relocate Dalit Sikhs

On Friday, the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) has rejected the HLC report and vowed to “fight tooth and nail and stop all illegal acts of the Meghalaya government.”

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Shillong: 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.

“Minority Sikhs of Meghalaya won’t tolerate forced relocation from Punjabi Lane at Bara Bazar, Shillong by High-Level Committee. HLC is working in a biased manner and we won’t allow this injustice. This action will have a worldwide reaction,” Sirsa, who is also the president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, tweeted.

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Urging Chief Minister Sangma to maintain status quo, Sirsa further 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.”

On Friday, the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) has rejected the HLC report and vowed to “fight tooth and nail and stop all illegal acts of the Meghalaya government.”

“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,” HPC secretary Gurjit Singh said.

Singh said the matter is sub judice in the Supreme Court 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,” the panchayat leader asserted.

The Chief Minister had assured that the government will follow “procedures to evict”.

“… the Urban Affairs department will examine all of those aspects and then the government will decide on how to move forward,” Sangma said, adding that “there are procedures to evict people and therefore, the government has to follow all procedures.”

Asked about the Meghalaya High Court’s order directing both the state government and the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) to maintain status-quo with regards to the Sweeper Colony issue, the Chief Minister said that the state government is ready to challenge the court order.

“We will challenge the status quo. If there is a status quo that has been ordered by the high court then we will definitely challenge that status quo order,” he said.

For more than two decades, several indigenous Khasi civil society groups have demanded from the Meghalaya to re-locate Sikh residents, living there since British times, from Sweepers Lane as most of them are “illegal settlers”.

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