HNLC flag
HNLC flag. Photo credit - Northeast Now

The Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) said people from Meghalaya cannot claim their land in Punjab and illegal settlers do not have the right to stake claim over land at Them Metor.

A statement issued by HNLC general secretary-cum-publicity secretary Saiñkupar Nongtraw on Sunday said the Meghalaya government should not soften its stance and should immediately take action, and identify genuine and illegal settlers there.

Nongtraw said the deadline given by the Harijan panchayat to the Shillong Municipal Board and government sounded more like a warning signal.

“This issue has been cropping up for the last three decades and we have not seen any solution so far,” he said.

The Meghalaya government constituted a high-level committee in June last year to find out feasible solution to the issue.

“When the government had identified the land to relocate the people, then it should not be their problem,” the HNLC publicity secretary stated.

Saying that the people of Meghalaya have “patience”, Nongtraw stated: “The interference of the Punjab government and its politicians time and again should not be entertained. We cannot claim their land in Punjab and they do not have the right to stake claim over our land. This is a serious matter, and the chief minister should take action to bring a solution. If the Harijan panchayat committee still challenges, then we shall have to resort to other means for a solution.”

The HNLC said the colony is a “den and full of criminals, drug addicts, thieves and no ladies dare to pass that way especially in the evening. It looks like a ghetto, and 70 per cent of the people at Them Ïew Mawlong are illegal settlers. They are not even the employee of the municipal board. So the rights to stay there do not arise at all. They have given away the houses at rent to many people from outside the state and are enjoying exorbitant rent.”

The HNLC also said the Harijan panchayat committee will shoulder the responsibility if any lives are lost.

“Simply threatening to go to the court, they are trying to bring in communal hatred and tension. The HNLC will repeat history again. This is not only a warning, when it comes to protecting the interests of our people,” Nongtraw warned.

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