CHANDIGARH: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Sunday said he will take up with the Union Home Minister Meghalaya government's alleged move to "evict" Sikhs living in Shillong.
Days after the Meghalaya cabinet approved a proposal to relocate "illegal settlers" from the Them Iew Mawlong area in Shillong, the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC), which represents members of the Sikh community there, has said it will "fight tooth and nail" to stop the government from carrying out the drive.
The Meghalaya state cabinet took the decision earlier this week, based on a recommendation made by a high-level committee (HLC) headed by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong.
Randhawa, according to an official statement, said he opposes the decision of the Meghalaya government "to evict the Sikhs living in Shillong" and has decided to take up the matter with the Union Home minister and Meghalaya chief minister.
Two years ago, a Punjab government delegation led by Randhawa had visited Shillong and met members of the Sikh community living there and had assured them at that time too that he would vociferously oppose any move against their displacement.
Randhawa vehemently opposed the Meghalaya government's latest move, saying it was totally unjust to evict the Sikhs.
The deputy chief minister said the Sikhs have been living in Shillong for decades and the Punjab government strongly opposes this decision to displace them.
He said the civil rights of these Sikhs who have been living in Shillong for more than 200 years would not be allowed to be trampled upon at any cost.
Randhawa alleged that the BJP-led NDA government has failed to create a sense of security and confidence among minorities across the country "who are feeling insecure, the latest examples of which can be seen in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh".
HPC secretary Gurjit Singh on Saturday that the organisation, which represents the interests of hundreds of Dalit Sikh families living in Them Iew Mawlong area or Punjabi lane for the past many years, has rejected the report of the high-level committee.
Singh had also said his organisation has vowed to "fight tooth and nail for the rights of people residing in the area till their last breath".
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