COHSO cautions against delay in relocation of Harijan Colony residents

SHILLONG: The chairman of Confederation of Hynniewtrep Social Organizations (COHSO), Robert June Kharjahrin said the High Level Committee (HLC) headed by the Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong should not delay the relocation of the residents of Harijan Colony.

It may be mentioned that the terms of reference of the HLC is to examine all relevant records and documents relating to the relocation of Sweepers’ Colony, Sweepers’ Lane and Mawlong Haat and to recommend practically feasible solutions for the relocation.  

“It is time for the HLC to give its report to the government following which the government should decide on the relocation of the Harijan Colony people,” he said.

A delegation of COHSO members met him Prestone to seek the status report on the High Level Committee’s (HLC) move to relocate the people of Harijan Colony.

Arguing that the interference of Commissions and Punjabi delegations will add fuel to fire, he said, “If the government tries to buy time with regard to relocation, it will definitely lead to law and order problem in the state. People are losing hope.”

According to him, other than the one-month deadline given by the HLC, he observed that delaying the situation is meaningless.

Inner Line Permit

On the other hand, Tynsong informed the delegation of COHSO that the amendment of Meghalaya Residents’ Safety and Security Act will soon be completed within this month.

Kharjahrin said Tynsong informed them that the Law and Political department had a meeting attended by the CM and the Deputy CM. “It is in the final stage of amendment,” he said adding that remaining deliberation will be on linking the act with the labour legislation. 

However, he said the final call would be taken when they get the draft and said, “We are against the Act because there are flaws in it. It does not possess the spirit of Inner Line Permit (ILP).”

He spirit of Section 3 and Section 4 of the Bengal Frontier Regulation (BFR) Act, 1873 which talk about penalty for persons who crosses beyond the ILP without a pass, the power to prescribe form of pass respectively should be reflected in the amendment.

He also said the amendment act should also look into Section 7of the BFR Act which states it is unlawful for persons who are not a native of the land to acquire any interest in land or the product of land beyond the said ‘Inner Line”.

On this note, Kharjahrin said the Constitution (Scheduled Tribe) Order, 1950 should be amended to exclude other tribes but to include only indigenous tribes of the state- Khasi, Jaintia and Garo.

“Our priority is amendment of the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act and our second priority is the amendment of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribe) Order, 1950 which we find to be defective and it is only copied and pasted from Assam,” he said.

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