Punjabi Lane in Shillong. (File image)

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) on Monday issued a notice to the Meghalaya government over the state government’s decision to evict Sikhs from the Shillong’s Harijan Colony (Punjabi lane).

Based on the recommendation of the high-level committee (HLC), the Meghalaya government on has decided to relocate the Sikhs of Punjabi Lane in Them Iew Mawlong area in Shillong and transfer the ownership of land to the state.

The committee was constituted in June 2018 to look into the demand by the local Khasi outfits for shifting the Sikhs, who have been living in the area for generations.

Violence had erupted in Shillong on May 31, 2018, after an altercation between a few women from the Punjabi Lane area and a city bus driver and conductor spiraled out of control.

The state government also said the municipal employees living in Harijan Colony will be relocated to the new location where residences would be provided to them.

However, resisting relocation, Harijan Panchayat Committee members claimed attempts were made to evict Sikh residents of Harijan Colony by roping in the local tribal chieftain in 1954 too.

While asking the officials to intervene in the matter and to ensure justice is provided to the victims’ families, commission Chairman Vijay Sampla sent the notice to the Chief Secretary, the state government, the Director-General of Police, among others.

The Commission asked the authorities to investigate the matter and to submit a report through post or email, based on the facts and information on the action taken on the issues.

Sampla cautioned the officers that if action taken report is not received within the time frame, the Commission might exercise the powers of the civil court conferred on it under Article 338 of the Constitution and issue a summon for personal appearance before the commission in Delhi.

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