Showdown likely as HPC, religious heads refuse to move out of Harijan Colony
The Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC), chiefs of the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, the Hindu temple, and the Church of North India - all located in the area - have rejected the government move to give it to the Urban Affairs Department for “beautification”, declaring, “We will die in our homes here rather than be forcibly evicted.”
They have also decided to seek the intervention of Meghalaya governor in the issue. This was decided in a meeting presided by HPC secretary Gurjit Singh, who is also the president of Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, Pastor Himanshu and Pirthi Das on November 1. The meeting also adopted several resolutions to “socially, legally, religiously and politically challenge the intentions of the state government”.
“We have examined the latest developments and let me say this that with all the authority at my command, we give sleepless nights to the government. The assurances of the government do not cut ice in fact, they are full of loopholes and obfuscation of facts and figures. Let it be known to all concerned that this is a fight for our survival and habitat and we will spare no effort to win this battle of honour, dignity and legitimate rights (sic),” read the statement issued by Gurjit Singh, secretary Harijan Panchayat Committee.
Setting the tone for their “fight” against the government, the residents in their first resolution, stated that, "The tripartite agreement between the Government of Meghalaya, the acting Syiem of Hima Mylliem and the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) is patently illegal, mala fide and a clear violation of the constitutional and fundamental rights of the residents of Punjabi Lane, whose forefathers came here some 200 years ago and who have served Meghalaya honestly and diligently doing manual scavenging and other menial tasks.
“It is ironic that instead of acknowledging the work of our people, the thankless government of Meghalaya and some groups are hell-bent on throwing us out without taking our opinion and forcing its policy merely because the area now falls into a central part of the city,'' Singh added.
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