Matters pertaining to relocation of residents of Harijan Colony sub judice: HPC tells DC; seeks non-intervention
The Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) has written to the Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills seeking non-intervention by the district authorities or any quarters in matters pertaining to the relocation of Sikhs from Harijan Colony, stating the matter is sub judice.
The HPC has also requested the DC to provide provision of more security to the dwellers of the Colony and other parts of the district.
The decision was taken after advocate Erwin K Syiem Sutnga had petitioned the DC seeking relocation of over 300 families from the Sweeper’s Colony at Them Iew Mawlong as per The Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act 1971.
“The call for relocation of our people under the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act 1971, made by a local lawyer is misguided, irrelevant and sinister. The provisions of the said Act are not applicable to us. Had it been relevant, the state would have initiated proceedings soon after the promulgation of the Act. To make reference to the Act, 50 years hence is malafide and a clear breach of the status quo order of the High Court. In fact, it is a contempt of court,” said HPC secretary Gurjit Singh, in a statement.
He further added that the decision was taken after some self-anointed leaders with no locus-standi petitioned the office of the Deputy Commissioner for relocating the residents of the Harijan Colony.
“The HPC categorically states that as the matter is sub judice in the High Court of Meghalaya at Shillong as well as the Apex court, any intervention by any office in this regard would amount to contempt of court,” Singh said.
According to him, the HPC is of the considered view that these statements are being issued to “overawe us to create hatred in the minds of poor Sikhs people of the colony”.
Singh said, “In their zeal to get publicity and political mileage, these outrageous utterances are endangering the peace and security of the people of the area. For the last two hundred years, we have been living peacefuly, we have worked very hard to earn our livelihood and we have contributed substantially to the welfare of the people of the area.”
The HPC further maintained that they will not succumb to any pressure and will be constrained to proceed legally in the matter.
The HPC secretary said that such utterances have caused unnecessary hardship and pain to the residents as they have been living in Meghalaya when customary law was prevalent and the modern laws were not even in the statute.
The HPC also reiterated that following a writ petition in the High Court of Meghalaya at Shillong, Justice S. R. Sen, in his order dated 5 February 2019, categorically stated that the Harijan Colony people are not to be disturbed in any manner and also facilitated the placement of security for the protection of the dwellers.
It also stated that Chief Justice R More of the High Court of Meghalaya, in his order dated 9 April 2021 directed that the status quo be maintained by both parties with regard to the Harijan Colony.
“This misadventure must be stopped. It is high time to maintain peace and harmony in society,” the HPC asserted.
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