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Harijan Panchayat Committee rejects govt panel report

"We will fight for our rights till our last breath and we will die for our land"

Shillong,Oct 8: The Harijan Panchayat Committee has rejected the report of the  high-level commitee constituted by the state government on the relocation of the residents.

In a statement on Friday, Gurjit Singh ( in picture) , the secretary of the committee, said “We wil fight tooth and nail and stop all illegal acts of the Meghalaya government”.

The cabinet discussed the report of the high level commitee on Thursday and one of the  recommendations was to take possession of the land at Harijan Colony.

Singh said since hundreds of poor Sikhs have been residing in the area for more than 200 years, the stand  of ‘the BJP coalition led by Conrad Sangma government’, regarding  the ownership of land is not acceptable.

Referring to the call of chief minister that the process of taking over of land should be completed within one week, Singh warned, “We  will fight for our rights till our last breath. We will die for our land will not allow any illegal, unlawful, unethical and unjust action by the Meghalaya government’.

He said since the matter is sub-judice and pending in Supreme Court and High Court, the state government will be committing a breach of procedures and contempt of court if it goes 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, the Syiem of Hima Mylliem. No one else has the right to this land”, Singh said.

According to Singh, the present Syiem of Hima Mylliem is being pressured by granting him ownership of a large chunk of land. “Under local laws too, he too has no authority to take back a gift given by his predecessors”.

Hence, he said 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’.

“First the government decided to browbeat us by letting anti-social elements attack our homes in 2018. Now after failing in court, the government is again using strong-arm tactics. Even government employees cannot be forcefully shifted to another location,” he said.

Prestone biased 

Singh said the “so called high level committee was headed by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong who throughout was biased against poor Sikh residents of the area. The recommendations are to be consigned into dustbin as they are patently illegal”.

Singh said it is ironic that the cabinet failed to appreciate the genesis of the case which is that “poor Sikh residents, who served their state, are now made victims of forcible eviction under the pressure of land mafia and for the simple reason that the then inaccessible area is now a prime property.”

“We fail to understand why is the government is in such a hurry when a status quo was ordered by the High Court of Meghalaya on August 9, 2021 after a series of litigations,” he said.

Singh said the order of the court was for status-quo on the activities of high level committee which was formed  on June 4, 2018. The report of the committee was submitted  on September 28.

Title suit not govt decision 

The secretary of the Harijan committee said taking possession of land by urban affairs department within a week as indicated by the chief minister cannot be through a unilateral decision of the  government but it should be through a title suit as ordered by Justice Sen of High Court of Meghalaya on February 15, 2019.

Singh said since the attack in 2018, after several visits and hearings, the national commission for minorities, the national human rights commission and the national commission for safai karamacharis had also ordered status quo and no relocation of anyone from the area.

“The claim of the Meghalaya government that it will act on the findings of the high level committee on relocating government employees and others from the area is a clear violation,among other things, of these orders too”, Singh added.

The copies of the press statement were sent to Meghalaya governor, chief minister, Punjab chief minister, president of Shiromani Akali Dal(Badal), national commission for minorities, national commission for human rights, national commission for safai karamacharis, the president of Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee, Golden Temple, Amritsar, Syiem of Mylliem and director, urban affairs.

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