THREE DAYS after the Meghalaya authorities took authorized possession of the disputed Punjabi Lane in Shillong’s Them lew Mawlong space, the native Dalit Sikh neighborhood on Monday responded, saying they might “somewhat die of their houses, than be forcibly evicted”.

In a press release, Gurjit Singh, president of Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC), which represents members of the Sikh neighborhood in Shillong, termed the federal government’s transfer “unlawful” and stated they might “socially, legally, religiously and politically” problem the state authorities.

“Let it’s recognized to all involved that it is a battle for our survival and habitat and we’ll spare no effort to win this battle of honour, dignity and legit rights,” the assertion stated.

On Friday, following up on the Conrad Sangma-led Cupboard’s relocation choice earlier this month, the City Affairs Division took possession of the land on paper, amid protests from the neighborhood.

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A letter from Joint Secretary G Kharmawphlang to the Extra Chief Secretary stated that following a tripartite lease signed between the Syiem of Mylliem, Shillong Municipal Board and Authorities of Meghalaya, the land measuring 12,444.13 squares metres had been “handed over” to the City Affairs Division.

Chief Minister Sangma on Monday informed reporters that the difficulty can be resolved “amicably” in a “phase-wise method”.

“They’re emotionally charged and giving statements however we’re prepared to speak to them amicably,” Sangma stated, including that this was the primary time within the historical past of the state that any authorities was taking sturdy, concrete steps in direction of resolving a long-pending problem. “It’s not straightforward however we’re dedicated to this, and we’ll discuss to the folks,” he stated.

Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong informed reporters on Friday that the following step can be achieved “legally” with “due course of”. He stated as soon as the difficulty was resolved, there can be “beautification” within the space.

Chatting with The Indian Specific earlier, Tynsong had stated that the Sikh neighborhood shouldn’t “get confused” that they had been “being thrown out”. “We’re right here to assist them,” he had stated.

The Sikhs, who’ve been dwelling within the space for about 200 years, have termed the tripartite settlement “patently unlawful”, “malafide” and a “clear violation” of their “constitutional and basic rights”. “The assurances of the federal government don’t minimize ice, the truth is, they’re stuffed with loopholes and obfuscation of information and figures,” the HPC assertion stated.

Moreover, the three chiefs of the non secular establishments (gurdwara, temple and church) – that are positioned in Punjabi Lane – will petition the workplace of the Governor of Meghalaya looking for his intervention.

“Non secular locations of worship are sacrosanct and can’t be demolished underneath any circumstances. I shudder to consider the results, ought to the Meghalaya authorities make a misadventure on this path,” stated Singh within the assertion.

The many years outdated dispute stems from a disagreement over possession of land. Whereas the federal government claims the land, which is positioned subsequent to Shillong’s industrial hub Iewduh or Bara Bazaar, belongs to the City Affairs Division, the Sikhs contemplate it to be a “present” to them by the Syiem of Milliem – within the 1850s.

The land dispute has simmered for many years, with sections of society and political organisations in Meghalaya demanding that the residents be shifted to another space — the first argument being {that a} prime industrial space shouldn’t maintain a residential locality. It took a violent flip in 1996 and later in Might 2018, resulting in clashes between native Khasis and Sikhs, after which a high-level committee was shaped to settle it. The Cupboard’s relocation choice is predicated on suggestions made by the committee.

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