HPC sets ‘recognition’ pre-condition for talks with govt on relocation


SHILLONG, Nov 8: Setting a pre-condition for the talks on the burning issue of the relocation of the residents from Iew Mawlong, the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) has asked the government to first recognize the existence and presence of the settlers.
HPC Secretary Gurjit Singh gave this rider to the government in a letter written to Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma. Recently, the CM stated the government is open to holding talks with the stakeholders to resolve the matter amicably.
Singh appreciated Sangma for his stand but made it clear the HPC also needs a formal agenda-based invitation from the government before the talks.
The residents of the Colony never received an invitation from the High Level Committee (HLC), he said. On the contrary, he added, they were constantly given veiled threats of forcible eviction.
Singh rubbished the claims of the CM and Deputy CM Prestone Tynsong that the HLC never received any representation or objection from the residents.
He challenged the government to furnish the names and details of 40 families that it claims have been accommodated and slammed it for not disclosing the contents of the tripartite agreement reached among the government, the acting Syiem of Hima Mylliem and the Shillong Municipal Board.
“What is so sacrosanct that it is not being made available even after filing of RTI applications? Is it that the March 31 date is an ex post facto afterthought to circumvent the possibility of contempt of court?  Is it that it has signed the agreement with the acting Syiem while he cannot legally do it? Is it also not true that the young acting Syiem has been put under pressure to execute the document?” the HPC secretary said.
Recalling the 2019 order of the High Court of Meghalaya wherein Justice SR Sen had issued directions to not disturb the residents without civil proceedings regarding the title of the land and the status quo order of Justice More, Singh questioned the government’s decision to take possession of the 2.5 acres of land.
He also said the sentiments of the residents are attached to their humble abode and surroundings where their forefathers lived and died and it was due to the love of the people that they never thought of returning to Punjab.
“This abode is now of historic importance to us and we cannot even dream of surrendering it for the construction of a modern mall for the rich and the famous. We also strongly object to anyone calling us non-citizens,” Singh said.
Sounding a stern warning on the proposed demolition of the religious institutions in Harijan Colony, he impressed upon the government not to trudge on the path of hurting religious sentiments of the people by destroying the Gurdwara, the Hindu temple, the church and the school.

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