Shillong: In view of the incident that triggered tension in Shillong that administration had to enforce a curfew, Meghalaya government has decided to set up a High-Level Committee (HLC). Problem began when a few women from Sweepers' Lane had an altercation with some employees of the Shillong Public Transport Service (SPTS) and it snowballed into a violent confrontation between the two groups.
Now, the state government has set up the HLC to find a permanent solution to the long-pending issue of relocation of the residents of Them ïew Mawlong (Harijan colony). Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong will head the committee, which will include Home Minister James K Sangma, Urban Affairs Minister Hamletson Dohling, Health and Family Welfare Minister Alexander L Hek, Agriculture Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh and Chief Executive Member of Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council Pynshngain N Syiem.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma told the media that the urban affairs department has been asked to submit a report regarding various aspects of Sweepers' Colony, such as its history, legal issues, unauthorised occupants etc. He said the department has been asked to furnish the information at the earliest so that the government can take the matter forward.
Also, the chief minister appealed to the agitators again to end their protests as the government was looking to resolve the issue. He noted that the lockdown has affected daily wage labourers, farmers, taxi drivers, hawkers and shopkeepers.
“The solution is not on the streets but on the table and we are ready for discussions,” he said. When asked whether the standoff was communal in nature or whether there was a political motive behind the unrest, Sangma said it would not be appropriate to comment on this. He said that the police have arrested one person identified as B Misa, who is accused of assaulting the local boys.
The home minister said that the army has conducted a flag march and the situation was tense but under control.
To defuse the tension, the state government held a series of meetings at the secretariat on Monday. All the political parties of the state, heads of various faiths and hawkers' association attended these meetings.
Concerned over unverified reports in social media over the current situation in Shillong, a delegation of the Punjab government on Monday met Sangma. According to the delegation, the objective of their visit was to ascertain the ground reality. Punjab Minister for Jail and Cooperation, Sukjinder Randhawa, told presspersons after meeting Sangma that the CM has assured them the government is doing all it can to ensure the safety of the Sikh community in the state.
Also, quoting Sangma, he said there is no truth behind alarmist messages doing rounds on social media about Sikhs facing threat in Shillong.
The author is a Meghalaya-based journalist and and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters
Updated Date: Jun 05, 2018 10:49 AM