James assures safety; Sikh delegation says no to relocation

Chief Secretary holds meeting with Home ministry officials in Delhi

SHILLONG/ NEW DELHI: Home Minister James Sangma on Thursday assured a delegation of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) that the state government has taken all steps for the security of the residents of Harijan Colony in the wake of the HNLC threat, while the delegation reiterated that there is no question of relocation of the residents.
“I have reassured them that the department is taking the matter seriously and police have taken measures to increase security and we are monitoring the situation,” James told media persons after meeting the three-member delegation.
Though the state government assured safety and security to the residents, the delegation, however, maintained that there is no change in their stand to not relocate the residents.
The SGPC delegation’s visit to the state came on a day when the Chief Secretary, P S Thangkhiew, met Union Home ministry officials in Delhi and presented a status report regarding the matter.
The report said the residents of Harijan Colony are safe and the government has made adequate arrangements for their security.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had called the state government for a meeting following a complaint from the Shiromani Akali Dal.
The day also saw a delegation of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee calling on the Ministry of Home Affairs officials in view of the HNLC threat.
James said the government would protect the lives of people regardless of their community affiliation and would not allow anyone to vitiate the environment.

Security personnel stand guard at the entrance to the Harijan Colony in the city. (ST)

When asked about the threat of HNLC to the Sikh community recently, James said the government would deal firmly with anybody who tries to vitiate peaceful environment in the state.
“We are aware of the of the matter and Home department as well as the police are doing everything possible to protect each and every citizen regardless of which community they belong to,” he said.
“We as a government will not allow attempts to communalize the environment and we will take action against such attempts,” he said.
During the meeting, the SGPC delegation apprised the Home Minister of their grievances and concerns.
On other matters, James clarified to the delegation that the issue is being looked after by the High Level Committee and he cannot give any assurances, adding the HLC is working within the framework laid by the High Court.
Earlier, Vice President of the SGPC, Harpal Singh, raised concerns about the security of residents of Harijan Colony after the threat issued by the banned militant outfit brought them to Meghalaya.
He said the meeting with the state Home Minister was cordial and that they are satisfied with his assurances.
The delegation, however, asserted that the residents should not be relocated.
Following the meeting with Home Ministry officials, Shiromani Akali Dal leader from Delhi and member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Manjinder S Sirsa, in a tweet said that the ministry apprised them that the Chief Secretary of Meghalaya has shared a report about the situation and the solution.
He also shared another tweet thanking Chief Minister Conrad Sangma saying the latter has been kind enough to monitor the situation constantly.
“He has informed MHA that he will be holding a meeting with all stakeholders next week to find a befitting solution. CM Sangma has assured that Sikhs/Punjabis of Shillong have nothing to fear about”, the tweet said.

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