Shillong: The Meghalaya government has reaffirmed its decision to relocate the Dalit or Mazhabi Sikhs from the Sweeper’s Lane here based on the recommendation of a high-level committee.
“I had candidly told them (Harijan Panchayat Committee) that the government will relocate residents from Sweeper’s Lane,” Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong told reporters after a meeting with members of the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) on Wednesday.
The HLC was constituted by the state government to find a feasible solution for the relocation of the Sweeper’s Colony following clashes at Motphran junction in 2018.
Terming the meeting with the HPC members as a “productive” one, Tynsong said a second round of meeting with the HPC will be held on April 25 for further discussion.
“In today’s meeting , we discussed openly and frankly about the need to relocate the residents from the colony. We have requested them to convey our (government) message to the residents of Sweeper’s Lane about the relocation,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.
“There are 342 households and these are all government employees including the existing ones and those who have been working for a long time,” he said.
Asked if the government have identified the location to relocate the Dalit Sikhs, Tynsong said, “We are on the job and we have identified few places, but i cannot share with you as we are yet to finalise it.”
Meanwhile, HPC Secretary Gurjit Singh also described the meeting with Tynsong as “positive” but said the decision will be made after consulting with the residents.
For more than two decades, several indigenous Khasi civil society groups have demanded from the Meghalaya government to re-locate Dalit Sikh residents, living there since British times, from Sweepers Lane as most of them are “illegal settlers”.