SGPC wants Meghalaya Govt to construct proper houses for settlers at Them ïew Mawlong

Shillong, June 13: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Thursday demanded the state government to allow the residents of the Harijan Colony to construct proper shelters at Them ïew Mawlong.

A delegation of the SGPC also sought the intervention of Home Minister, James K. Sangma for providing adequate security to the Sikh families in the light of the recent threat issued by a banned militant outfit.

After the meeting, member of the SGPC Bhagwant Singh Sailka told reporters that the home minister has assured the delegation that the government will ensure nothing will happen to the residents and the government is trying to settle the issue.

“The delegation has conducted an inspection in the area, and we feel that the people living there should be allowed to construct new houses as per norms and modern technique as at present the place is like a slum area,” Sailka said.

When pointed out that the government had already constructed quarters for the residents who are employees of the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB), Bhagwant however said, “Quarters are not the solution to the problem, but the solution is that they should be allowed to make their own houses.”

According to him, the area is the most suitable place for the residents as they have been residing there for nearly 150 years since 1853.

Bhagwant further stated that despite the fact that the Meghalaya High Court had passed an order in favour of the residents yet notices were issued by the SMB asking for details which are already with the government and concerned departments.

The SGPC said that it was not concerned about the agreement signed between the SMB and the Syiem of Hima Mylliem in 1954, but about the constitutional rights of the residents.

On issue related to step taken by the government to identify illegal settlers, Bhagwant claimed that all residents are legal settlers.

“We do not know about any illegal person (residing in the area),” he said.

In a memorandum to the Home Minister, the SGPC urged him to intervene and appropriate directions may be given to the local administration not to take any unlawful step or illegitimate action so as to dispossess/dislocate/relocate/remove the local Sikh families from their respective houses. “Needless to mention, such action of the local administration in the name of government may call for untoward incidents and creating law and order situation. To save the same, it is the duty of the state. These Sikh families although of lower castes, but have worked hard for the betterment of the state and at this stage, it becomes the duty of the state not to remove them.”