Ensure one-time resolution of Shillong Sikhs, Punjab government urges Meghalaya



 A visiting high-level Punjab government delegation on Thursday met Meghalaya Home Minister James K. Sangma and urged him to ensure an early and amicable one-time resolution of the lingering issue related to Sikh settlers here.

The Punjab government team also requested that the high-powered committee formed by the Meghalaya government on the issue should take into account all genuine concerns of the Sikh families before reaching any conclusion.

The delegation was rushed to the state by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to assess the ground situation in the wake of threats reportedly issued to Sikh residents in Shillong.

The delegation also requested the Home Minister to ensure security of the hundreds of Sikh families who have been residing in the Punjabi Lane area of Shillong for decades now.

The state government should initiate more confidence building measures to instill confidence in the community, they said.

Any arbitrary action taken by local authorities to evacuate the settlers would be in gross violation of the right to movement and freedom of the Sikh community, said the delegation.

Expressing satisfaction with the handling of the situation by the state government, the delegation, on behalf of Amarinder Singh, thanked the Meghalaya Home Minister for his proactive efforts in defusing the situation.

The delegation, however, underlined the need to guard against attempts by vested groups to create further problems.

During the meeting, delegation head and Punjab Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa handed Amarinder Singh's letter addressed to Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to the Home Minister.

The Home Minister assured the delegation that all efforts would be made to protect the Sikhs in Meghalaya.

The high-level committee under the chairmanship of Deputy Chief Minister was examining the issue from all angles and any final decision would be based on its outcome, he assured the delegation.

On the issue of threats issued by the banned HNLC group, the Home Minister assured the delegation that though the organisation was defunct the state government was not taking any chances and had already made elaborate security arrangements.

He also apprised the visiting delegation that Chief Minister Conrad Sangma was in constant touch with his Punjab counterpart, and would keep Amarinder Singh updated on the situation which he was personally monitoring. IANS