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Lawyer urges Meghalaya authorities to evict residents from Harijan colony

In his petition to Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills district Isawanda Laloo, the petitioner, Erwin K Syiem Sutnga said, the Deputy Commissioner and “competent authority” under the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act should issue eviction notice to the residents of Harijan Colony.

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Shillong: A Shillong-based lawyer on Monday urged the competent authorities in Meghalaya to evict residents from the Harijan Colony also known as Sweeper’s Lane under provisions of the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act, 1971.

In his petition to Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills district Isawanda Laloo, the petitioner, Erwin K Syiem Sutnga said, the Deputy Commissioner and “competent authority” under the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act should issue eviction notice to the residents of
Harijan Colony.

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“The violations of the said Act have to be taken action against at the earliest upon receipt of this petition under section 8 of Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act, 1971,” Sutnga said, adding that Section 8 of the Act provides for “issuing notice, hearing of the respondents and also other required procedures of law in order to arrive at a judicious finding based on the principles of justice, equity and the right to be heard.”

Under the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act, 1971 tribal land cannot be sold to a non-tribal. The major tribe of the states represents the tribal under this Act.

Sutnga is of the opinion that the residents of Harijan colony have violated the provisions of this Act and the Harijan Panchayat Committee is the “non-tribal occupier in illegal occupation of the tribal land.”

Stating that the matter is of vital importance, Sutnga said, tribal land in possession of the indigenous Khasi-Jaintia tribe has been dwindling from 22,000 square kilometer, prior to the statehood of Meghalaya in 1971, to around 16,000 square kilometer at present.

“Influx of immigrants, especially illegal influx, has always been a perennial problem of the demographic characteristic of urban Shillong and this poses serious problems of unregulated growth of slums as exemplified by the present Them Iew Mawlong (Harijan Colony),” he argued in the petition, urging the Deputy Commissioner to issue necessary orders for the eviction of all illegal “non tribal occupiers” of Harijan Colony.

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