Punjab govt delegation to visit Meghalaya soon over Sikh settlers’ issue

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The four-member team will meet M’laya CM Conrad Sangma

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, June 16: A four-member delegation of the Punjab government will visit Meghalaya following reports that Punjabis living in Shillong have been asked to leave by the state administration.

The four-member delegation will be led by Punjab minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria. MPs Ravneet Singh Bittu and Jasbir Singh Gill along with MLA Kuldeep Singh Vaid will be a part of the delegation.

D S Mangat, special secretary, planning, has also been directed to accompany the group, an official spokesperson said. They will meet chief minister Sangma and other officials in Shillong, he said.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has also written to his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K Sangma to ensure security of the Punjabis settled in the state.

The directions come amid media reports that the Punjabis settled in Meghalaya have received “threats” from local organisations which warned them of dire consequences if they resisted the state government’s attempts to evict them.

“These reports have naturally caused great concern back in Punjab as these families have been settled in Shillong long before the country’s independence,” Amarinder wrote in a letter to Sangma requesting him to initiate urgent measures to instill a sense of security among the Punjabi settlers.

The Punjab chief minister said it was important that the matter be not allowed to acquire a religious or parochial colour.

The development came after the Meghalaya government had on Thursday submitted its report to the ministry of home affairs “assuring the safety” of Punjabi settlers in Shillong.

An incident of assault in Punjabi Lane area of Shillong in May last year had resulted in group clashes following which it was put under curfew for over a month. (With agencies input)

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