CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has demanded that 350 Sikh families living in Shillong be given ownership of the land on which they have been living for generations, and allowed construction by the Meghalaya government.
Sources said that a three-member committee of the SGPC recently visited Shillong and met officials of the Meghalaya government, including state home minister James K Sangma. It reportedly told them that the 350 Sikh families living for decades in the Punjabi lane area of Shillong should be given ownership of the land they have been living on.
The ownership lies with the local tribal chieftain who leased the land to a gurdwara, school and the families long ago. The lease deed does not specify the duration. The land in question measures around 1.75 acres. The SGPC committee told the state government that the Sikhs should be allowed construction on that land, said sources.
The Meghalaya home minister promised the SGPC delegation that Sikhs in Shillong will be safe and assured it of their security. The local population wants the Sikhs to vacate the land, and Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, a banned militant outfit that claims to represent the interests of the local Khasi and Jaintia tribes, has issued a threat to the Sikhs in this regard.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh has decided to send a four-member delegation to the state to resolve the issues concerning the settlers.