Minorities panel to meet Shah on Harijan Colony issue

From C K Nayak

NEW DELHI: Member, National Commission for Minorities, S Manjit Singh Rai, will meet the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, and visit Shillong in view of the prevailing tension in the Sikh-dominated Harijan Colony following the threat issued by the HNLC.
Rai has sought reports from the state about the latest development. He will personally visit Shillong after receiving the reports and meeting the home minister, his office sources said.
State government sources said that nothing has been done to evict or relocate the residents from the area as of now. The government is only collecting some information for future course of action for a settlement, it added.
Incidentally, the Meghalaya government has filed a petition in the High Court to review its direction in February this year to the state.
The court had directed the state government to take recourse to civil court to determine the legal rights of the residents and other details.
The case is coming up for hearing on June 18 and the government is maintaining that the court cannot issue such a direction to the state.
Rai said he will review the current situation in the state capital and before that he will meet the union home minister. The National Commission for Minorities had once summoned the chief secretary, who accompanied by the Advocate General Amit Kumar had discussed the situation with the panel earlier.
The Shillong Municipal Board had on May 30 issued notices to the Harijan Colony residents to provide inventory and prove the ownership of land within one month.
The notices were issued after the Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong-led high powered committee constituted to look into the issue of relocation of the Harijan Colony residents, gave a direction in this regard.
Harijan Colony is inhabited by people from Punjab brought to Shillong around 150 years ago by the British to work as cleaners and sweepers.
The authorities have directed the residents of the colony to furnish documents to prove that they had settled in the area legally.

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