Shillong: Following Meghalaya government’s decision on taking possession of the land, Gurjit Singh, secretary of Shillong-based Harijan Panchayat Committee, on Friday said they will fight tooth and nail, and stop “all illegal acts of the government”.

The committee has also rejected the government’s High-Level Committee report about the Sweepers Colony area of Shillong. The committee said it represents the interests of hundreds of families living in Sweepers Colony’s Punjabi lane for more than 200 years.

Responding to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s statement that the process of taking over the land at Sweepers Colony at Them Iew Mawlong will be completed within a week, Singh said in a statement, “We will die for our land and will not allow any illegal, unlawful, unethical and unjust action by the Meghalaya Government.”

The statement further reads: “The matter is sub-judice in the Supreme Court of India and the Meghalaya government would be committing a breach of procedures if it insists on going ahead with its illegal plans.”

Shillong’s Sweepers Colony area has remained barricaded since the 2018 incident.

“We are the legitimate owners of the so-called disputed 2.5 acres of land at Sweepers Colony, as it was gifted to our ancestors by tribal chief Syiem of Hima Mylliem. No one else has the right to this land,” stated Singh.

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

The Harijan committee has also alleged that the HLC’s head, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, has been biased against the poor Sikh residents of the area. “The recommendations of the cabinet are to be consigned to the dustbin as they are patently illegal,” reacted Singh.

The Harijan Panchayat Committee has questioned why was the government in such a hurry when a status quo has been ordered by the Meghalaya High Court at Shillong on April 9, 2021, after a series of litigations.

It may be mentioned that the HLC was constituted in 2018 to find an amicable solution to relocate the residents living at Shillong’s Sweepers Colony.

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