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City Sikhs nudge Guv for use of Punjab funds

SHILLONG: The Sikh community in Shillong has sought Governor Tathagata Roy’s intervention so that there is no obstruction to disbursement of the funds announced by the Punjab government for the Guru Nanak School, and has also demanded disbanding of the “biased” High Level Committee constituted by the state government following the June riots.
A delegation of Sikh residents met the Governor on Tuesday and submitted a six-page memorandum apprising him of several issues confronting the community, according to a press release issued by the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC).
The HPC said the delegation told the Governor that the school belonged to the committee and that they had patta for the land.
They also pointed out that the school has received grants under various schemes.
HPC secretary and City Gurdwara Management Committee president Sardar Gurjit Singh, who led the delegation to the Governor, said the Government of Punjab has granted funds for the school.
The delegation’s meeting with the Governor comes in the wake of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma categorically saying funds to be given by the Punjab government couldn’t be used in the disputed area. Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong, and Urban Affairs Minister, Hamletson Dohling, had also taken exception to the Punjab Government announcing Rs 60 lakh as compensation for the city’s Sikh community.
Tynsong asserted that the Punjab government announced compensation without verifying facts and on the basis of hearsay while Dohling said that it would mislead the entire country by giving the impression that there was massive destruction in the incident at Sweeper’s Colony.
The HPC said that the Deputy Chief Minister and Urban Affairs Minister were unnecessarily raising the issue to cause confusion and malign the Sikhs.
Alleging that a truck, a showroom and a shop were burnt during the riot in Shillong in June, Singh said the Punjab government had granted compensation to the respective owners.
He rued that so far no compensation of any kind has been given by the Meghalaya government and clarified that no compensation has been announced for any injured person by the Punjab government.
In 2016, the then Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, visited Shillong giving Rs 10 lakhs to the Guru Nanak School and Rs 5 lakhs for the general development of Thandnongiaw village, Ri-Bhoi district, but nobody then had protested.
Disband High Level Committee
Demanding that the HLC be disbanded, the HPC said it has been issuing illegal orders for survey of properties of the poor Sikhs to the Shillong Municipal Board with the intention to dislocate them.
The HPC said that the so-called High Level Committee is bad in law and its proceedings in so far as relocation of Sikhs are concerned have been stayed by the High Court, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
“It has been acting in a biased and malafide manner,” he said.
Singh said the NCM has ordered a stay on the state government’s move to relocate the Sikh residents.
The delegation urged the Governor to “remove the climate of fear being built against them.
It told the Governor that the Sikhs have been “victims of veiled threats by student bodies, tribal NGOs, underground organisation namely the HNLC and other political leadership of the state. There have been intermittent overt and covert attempts to create a climate of fear in the minds of the Sikhs.”
The delegation also requested the Governor to enable the poor and suffering 218 Sikh families to get pattas and to change the official name of Punjabi Colony, which is referred to as “Sweepers Colony” citing the NHRC’s instruction to the state government in this regard.

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