Mawlai residents undertook a protest today against what they believe is a plot to hand over state government land to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), a claim that the state government has categorically denied.
The protest was organised by the Seng Samla Mawlai Pyllun (SSMP). The Mawlai Nongkwar land in question is occupied by the Arts and Culture Department and what led the residents to fear that the CRPF was going to use the land to set up a permanent camp (it currently has temporary premises nearby) is that the government was set to begin a survey of the plot of land, which the SSMP found suspicious.
Hundreds of people assembled at Mawlai petrol pump junction along the Shillong-Guwahati road for the protest, which saw heavy deployment of security personnel. The survey, which was scheduled to start today, was deferred because of the protest.
The SSMP suspected that the government planned to hand over the land to the CRPF because the youth group could not fathom why the administration would need to measure its own plot of land where it has already built an amphitheatre.
“If the Arts and Culture Department wanted to construct new buildings it could have easily done it by preparing detailed project reports. However, the fact that the government wanted to carry out a survey on its own land made the people think that it was for some hidden purposes,” SSMP President Samuel Biam said.
The SSMP and the Mawlai Town Dorbar will petition the government to ensure that the land is used for the public rather than for the CRPF, he added.