GUWAHATI: The Meghalaya government has assured of security to Shillong’s Dalit Sikhs who have been warned of “military action” by an insurgent group.
Home Minister James Sangma assured a delegation of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) that the state government had taken several measures to ensure safety and security to the lives and property of Dalit Sikhs living in Shillong’s Harijan Colony.
Following his meeting with a three-member SGPC team, Sangma said security was being heightened in the locality and that the government was constantly monitoring the situation.
The SGPC delegates were seemingly relieved with the minister’s assurance but they said there was no question of the Sikh settlers’ relocation. There has been alleged intense pressure on them to relocate.
Earlier, the state government constituted a committee to study the Dalit Sikhs’ relocation. Last month, the civic authorities in the hill station had served notices on the Harijan Colony residents to provide records of their land ownership within a month. The residents sniffed it as a move by the government to evict them.
The Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) subsequently demanded the withdrawal of the notices and set a deadline of one week. It warned of taking legal recourse against the civic authorities in the event of failure. However, rebel group Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) accused the HPC was trying to fan communal passion. It warned of taking military action if the HPC failed to withdraw the deadline served on Shillong Municipal Board.
Recently, Shiromani Akali Dal leader from Delhi and member of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, sought to draw the attention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah through a tweet where he alleged the Sikhs living in Shillong were being intimidated by HNLC.
The Harijan Colony is located in the heart of Shillong. The Dalit Sikhs living here were brought from Punjab some 150 years ago by the British to work as sweepers. The conflict involving them surfaced last year when some locals were beaten up allegedly by the Sikh residents of Harijan Colony.