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Sikhs of Shillong locality protest relocation decision, Dy CM says doing ‘due diligence’


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https://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/meghalaya/shillong-punjabi-lane-relocation-sikh-protest-govt-7566655/

 

 

Sikhs of Shillong locality protest relocation decision, Dy CM says doing ‘due diligence’

On October 7, the Conrad Sangma-led state cabinet approved a proposal to relocate the Punjabi residents from Them lew Mawlong area, based on a recommendation made by a high-level committee (HLC) headed by Tynsong.

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Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
Updated: October 12, 2021 9:52:25 am
Punjabi Lane in ShillongPunjabi Lane in Shillong (file photo)

Days after representatives of the Dalit Sikh community in Shillong’s Them lew Mawlong area – also called Punjabi Lane – protested the Meghalaya Cabinet’s decision to relocate them in another area, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong on Monday said the government was doing “due diligence” on the issue.
“We are following due diligence. It is not a question of throwing out the Sikh community from the area. Our aim is to relocate them to a proper place,” Tynsong told The Indian Express.

On October 7, the Conrad Sangma-led Cabinet approved a proposal to relocate the Sikh residents from the area, based on a recommendation made by a high-level committee headed by Tynsong.

The committee was constituted in June 2018 to find a solution to the decades-old land dispute, following violent clashes between local Khasis and Sikh residents of the area the previous month.

Decade-old issue

The 2.5-acred ‘Punjabi Lane’, next to Shillong’s commercial hub and largest traditional market place, Iewduh, has been home to Sikh Dalits, who were brought by the British to work as scavengers and sweepers in the 19th century. For three decades, sections of society and political organisations in Meghalaya have been demanding that residents be shifted to some other area — the primary argument being that a prime commercial area shouldn’t hold a residential locality. Over the years, localised brawls between residents and Khasis have been reported, the biggest being the clash in May 2018.

While the government claims that the disputed land belongs to the Urban Affairs Department, the Sikhs say the land was “gifted” to them by the Syiem (chief) of Hima Mylliem – one of the chiefdoms in Khasi Hills – in the 1850s. Today, Mylliem is one of the 54 traditional administrative territories under the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council, and the Punjabi Lane constitutes a part of it.

According to the October 7 Cabinet decision, the Urban Affairs Department would take possession of the land from the Syiem of Mylliem within a week. Announcing the decision, Chief Minister Sangma tweeted that the residents, who are permanent employees of the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB), would be relocated to constructed quarters. “Further, we will request the other residents residing in the colony to shift to the designated locations,” Sangma had tweeted, adding that the Urban Affairs Department would “explore other locations” for them.

 

In response to the decision, the Harijan Panchayat Committee, which represents members of the Sikh Dalit community in Shillong, said it would “fight tooth and nail” to stop the government from carrying out the drive.

On Sunday, PTI reported that Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said he would take up with Union Home Minister Amit Shah the Meghalaya government’s alleged move to “evict” Sikhs living in Shillong.

On Monday, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), on orders of its chairman Vijay Sampla, sent a notice to the Meghalaya Chief Secretary and other senior officials, asking them to submit a report at the earliest.

Harijan Panchayat Committee Gurjit Singh told The Indian Express that the government’s plan had caused “a lot of tension and anxiety” among the community members.

“We have lived here for 200 years. Time and again, the government tries to move us and our people get scared,” he said, adding that they had not received any official intimation from the government yet. He added that they had two documents to prove that the land was “gifted” to them by the Syiem of Mylliem: a 1954 agreement and one more in 2008.

Tynsong said the Sikh community should not “get confused” that they were “being thrown out”. “They are people of Meghalaya and we are here to help them,” he said, adding that they wanted to make an inventory of the residents of the area.
“While several of them work at the SMB, there are many settlers as well and we do not know where they came from. We request them to help us make an inventory, and come forward and declare their details such as name and occupation,” said Tynsong.

ingh said 300-odd Punjabi families reside in the locality. “Only 20 people out of them [who are close to retirement] are permanent employees of the SMB — whom the government claims will help relocate. The remainder, according to the government, are unauthorised,” he said, adding that it was “completely unjust” and “baseless”.

He added that the HPC had filed a petition in the Meghalaya High Court in 2018, and a status quo has been ordered by the court on 9 April, 2021. “We fail to understand why the government is in such a hurry when a status quo has been ordered recently,” he said.

 

Inputs from ENS, Chandigarh

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https://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/meghalaya/sikh-punjabi-shillong-sad-megahalaya-governor-7572180/

 

Sikh delegation reaches Meghalaya, requests Guv to intervene in relocation decision

“We shared our concerns and he assured us that no injustice will be done and the residents will not be removed illegally,” DSGMC President Manjinder Singh Sirsa told The Indian Express.reddit.svg

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
October 14, 2021 10:31:08 pm
Satyapal-malik.jpegA delegation of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DGMC) with Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik. (Twitter/mssirsa)

 

Keeping the pressure up on the Meghalaya government to revoke its decision of relocating Dalit Sikh residents of Them lew Mawlong area in Shillong, a delegation of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Thursday requested the intervention of Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik in the matter.

“We shared our concerns and he assured us that no injustice will be done and the residents will not be removed illegally,” DSGMC President Manjinder Singh Sirsa told The Indian Express.

A four-member team, led by Sirsa — who is also the National Spokesperson of Shiromani Akali Dal — met Malik at his official residence in Shillong earlier on Thursday afternoon. “He said he had already taken up the matter with Chief Minister Meghalaya Conrad Sangma as well,” said Sirsa, adding that they could not meet the Chief Minister because he was out of town.

The Sangma-led Cabinet’s October 7 decision to relocate the Sikh community from the area, also called the Punjabi Lane, based on recommendations made by a high-level committee, had drawn protests from the residents, who claim that they have been living in the area since the 1850s, after they were brought by the British to work as scavengers and sweepers in the region.

While the government claims that the land belongs to the Urban Affairs Department, the Sikhs say the land was “gifted” to them by the Syiem (chief) of Hima Mylliem – one of the chiefdoms in Khasi Hills – in the 1850s.

The land dispute has simmered for decades, with sections of society and political organisations in Meghalaya demanding that residents be shifted to some other area. It took a violent turn in May 2018, leading to clashes between local Khasis and Sikhs of the area, after which a high-level committee was formed to settle it.

While Sikh groups have called the move “illegal”, “unjust” and “unconstitutional”, with leaders saying they would take the matter up with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Meghalaya government has stood firm on its decision so far. On Monday, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong had told The Indian Express that they had “followed due diligence” on the issue.

Sirsa said that since a status quo had been ordered by Meghalaya High Court on 9 April, 2021 based on a petition filed by Sikh groups in 2018, the high-level committee had no power to make such a decision. “The residents cannot be relocated without following due process,” he said.

In a representation to Malik, DSGMC — an autonomous organisation that manages Gurudwaras, hospitals, educational institutions and welfare of Sikhs — that the Meghalaya government’s decision to take “possession” of the land is an action towards “instigating clashes” that can “spiral into violent unrest.”

It also added that the government of Meghalaya asking the Urban Affairs Department to work out a relocation plan may lead to instigating the residents, “without even granting them an opportunity to say anything.”

“The unilateral decision of the government in the name of illegal settlers is highly unconstitutional in nature and despite the directions of Hon’ble High Court they are not stopping from going ahead” it added.

Gurjit Singh, President of the Harijan Panchayat Committee, which represents members of the Sikh Dalit community in Shillong, said that they felt “more confident” after the DSGMC meeting with Malik. “We are hopeful that the government will rethink their decision,” he said.

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courts had sided with sikhs and said they were entiled to stay there , but obviously these is prime retail/hotel  real estate so this is the real reason the govt wants to hand land they do not own over to their buddies for favours . Apney should build up the area, benefit from the locattion with investment from sangat  and ensure the land stays under sikhs land rights.

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Old news, but interesting. I had no idea about this community. There's the Sikliger community somewhere in mid-India, and maybe more communities elsewhere that are largely unknown? I know about Nepal. 

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/how-shillong-got-a-separate-punjabi-colony-and-why-it-s-a-problem-now-1250294-2018-06-04

How Shillong got a separate Punjabi colony and why it’s a problem now

The Punjabi Lane in Shillong has become the focus of unrest as clashes have broken out between Dalit Sikhs and the Khasi tribe in the quiet city.

Prabhash K Dutta 
Shillong
June 4, 2018
UPDATED: June 5, 2018 17:34 IST

Meghalaya's capital Shillong has been in the news for all the wrong reasons over the past five days. Clashes erupted in Shillong's Punjabi Lane that is also known as the Sweepers Colony in the city, on Thursday between the people of the Khasi tribe and Dalit Sikhs living there.

 

Not too many people living outside Shillong know that the hilly northeast Indian city has a separate residential colony of Sikhs. They first moved into the city even before the 1857 revolt happened. The British expanded their footprints all over India and set up their bases in Shillong during the 1850s.

The British had brought Dalits from Punjab for manual scavenging as the locals would not do the job for the Civic and Military Sanitaria that they established in Shillong. The residents of Punjabi Lane claim that the local Syiem (head) of Mylliem (village) had given them the piece of land in 1853 to settle there permanently.

They also claim that the Syiem of Mylliem had confirmed the grant of land for permanent settlement in a 2008-letter to the Meghalaya State Electricity Board chairman.

The letter said that the land was given to Dalits from Punjab after an agreement between the Raja of Mylliem and the British administration was reached. The pact was signed on December 10, 1863. This means that the Dalit Sikhs have lived in Shillong's Punjabi Lane for over 150 years.

Syiem is a public authority under the jurisdiction of the Khasi Hill Autonomous District Council and acts on local, judicial and administrative matters. A word of acknowledgement from the Syiem of Mylliem should be the stand of law. But this is not the case.

The Punjabis, as the residents of the Sweepers Colony are called in Shillong now, continued to be employed as cleaners in the Shillong Municipal Board, Cantonment Board, state government offices, hospitals and by the police department. No sign of trouble was seen till the 1980s when Meghalaya started putting curbs on manual scavenging.

There was a parallel development during the 1970s. The Shillong district administration had identified the Punjabi Lane as an illegal slum colony and issued an eviction order. The residents moved the Meghalaya High Court, which stayed the eviction order in 1986.

A curb on manual scavenging led to the loss of jobs for the residents and also the window for their assimilation with the dominant Khasi tribal population. Several Khasi outfits including the Federation of Khasi Garo Jaintia People and Khasi Students' Union led campaigns for eviction of Punjabi settlers from the area.

 

The Khasi groups claim that the Punjabi Lane has become a den for criminals and anti-social elements. The anti-Punjabi sentiment is so strong in the Meghalaya capital that during the Assembly election the winning candidate from the North Shillong constituency, Adelbert Nongrum allegedly "promised to evict" the Punjabis from the area.

With mounting pressure for eviction, the Dalit Sikhs of Punjabi Lane also approached the National Commission of Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Minorities. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was also filed. But all that has not deterred the Punjabi baiters in Shillong.

The residents allege that the administration and local politicians want them to be shifted to the outskirts of Shillong so that the land could be used for commercial purposes.

What Is The Situation Now?

The Shillong administration has repeatedly imposed a curfew since last week. Now, 10 companies - each having 100 personnel - of paramilitary forces have been sent to Meghalaya to deal with the situation.

There are conflicting versions appearing in reports about the incident that led to clashes between Khasi and Punjabi groups. One version says that a Khasi man was beaten up by Punjabi men for allegedly sexually harassing a woman of the area.

The other version claims that following a scuffle between a Khasi bus conductor and a Punjabi woman over a parking lot in the Sweepers Colony of Motphran area of Shillong, the tribal man was beaten up by some of the residents.

A compromise was reached between the two groups and the Punjabi side paid an amount of Rs 4,000 to the Khasi man for "treatment" of injuries that he suffered during the assault. Later, a WhatsApp message went viral in Shillong claiming that two Khasi men had been decapitated by Punjabi community. A mob of Khasi tribals reached the spot and clashes erupted.

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https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sikhs-facing-eviction-in-shillong-seek-security/article37122333.ece

Sikhs facing eviction in Shillong seek security

author-deafault.pngSPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
GUWAHATI, OCTOBER 22, 2021 14:31 IST
UPDATED: OCTOBER 22, 2021 14:31 IST
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Dalit Sikhs of Shillong, facing eviction, have asked the local authorities to ensure their safety and security. File   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

 

Panel representing group says any action would amount to contempt of court

 

The Mazhabi or Dalit Sikhs of Shillong, facing eviction, have asked the local authorities to ensure their safety and security besides the protection of minority religious institutions.

In a letter to the East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Isawanda Laloo on October 21, the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) comprising the Sikh residents of Harijan Colony or Punjabi Lane also sought “no intervention” by the district administration or any other authority in their case pending at the High Court of Meghalaya as well as the Supreme Court.

Also Read: Shillong’s Sikhs get into Meghalaya bypoll rhetoric

“For the last 200 years, we have lived here peacefully, worked very hard to earn our livelihood and have contributed substantially to the welfare of the people of the area,” the letter by HPC secretary Gurjit Singh said.

 

He reacted to State Planning Board chairman Lambor Malngiang’s advice to the State government to not let any delegation from outside interfere in the Harijan Colony issue. “This is an insult because in India we can move around freely and this is what the Constitution says,” he said.

 

Also Read: Why did riots erupt in Shillong?

Mr. Malngiang had opposed the visit of a delegation of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee after the issue of relocating the Harijan Colony residents cropped up a few days ago, with Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma saying the government was determined to vacate the area.

Mr. Singh also dismissed Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong’s statement that the high-level committee the government had set up to resolve the Harijan Colony issue had given the residents many opportunities to prove their ownership of the land.

Also Read: Shillong Dalit Sikhs to challenge eviction move

“He should show us the proof of when the committee gave us the opportunity to submit documents, when they served us a letter and when we received it,” he said.

Mr. Tynsong is the chairman of the panel on relocation of Harijan Colony residents. The State Cabinet had approved the committee’s report on October 7.

He said the State government will take possession of the 2.5-acre colony after paying ₹2 crore as a premium to the local chieftain or Syiem. “The government has already sanctioned this amount,” he said.

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This issue including the attempted ousting of Sikh farmers in UP and Kutch as well as the attacks on Sikhs in Kashmir valley will continue because we do not understand how ethnic politics works in India. Why is it that there are no such actions against other ethnic minorities, why aren't Bengalis also being ousted from the Terai in UP where they have settled in larger numbers than Sikhs? It is because the UP govt knows that there are significant number of UP labourers working in Kolkata and other cities in West Bengal and they will face retaliation if Bengalis are harmed in UP. Same is the case for other ethnic minorities. A few years ago the rape a Gujarati baby girl by a Bhaiya set off riots which led to the ouster of thousands of Bhaiyas from Gujarat. Even a fake video about the massacre of Rohingyas in Myanmar set off riots against people from the North Eastern States in South India by Muslims. 

The reason these Sikhs in Shillong are being ousted is because we Sikhs and especially the Sikhs in Punjab now have the reputation that we will not retaliate against anything happening to Sikhs in the rest of India. This is why we are under attack in virtually every state. There were no attacks on Sikhs in the early 90s in Kashmir valley while the Kashmiri Pandits were forced out mainly because it suited Pakistan to keep the Khalistan movement on side as well as the fear that the Kharkoos were also capable of retaliation against Punjabi Muslims if Sikhs were targeted in Kashmir. Now that the movement is at a low ebb and previous Kashmiri murders of Sikhs such as at Chattisinghpora did not lead to any retaliation in Punjab then Pakistan sees nothing wrong in their proxies murdering Sikhs. 

With regard to Shillong, there are hundreds of North Eastern students studying in Punjab universities and colleges. The majority of them belong to leading and influential families in the north east as well as Meghalaya. If they faced some heat in Punjab then you will see how quick the Meghalaya govt withdraws its action against the Sikhs of Shillong. The politics of retaliation works in India. If after Chattisingpora there had been retaliation against the Kashmiris in Punjab then the targeting of Sikhs would have ended. But the last time we understood the politics of retaliation was when Santji would threaten retaliation if Sikhs outside Punjab were harmed. This was the case when Sikhs were threatened in Rajasthan and nothing come of the threat to them showing how well such politics works. 

Here are some of the north eastern student snowflakes in Punjab who while the Sikhs of Shillong were physically attacked last year were complaining about people in Punjab calling them Chinki or Corona!! 

'We Are Indians, Not Chinese': Northeast Students Request People Not To Call Them ‘Coronavirus’ | Watch

 

 

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7 hours ago, proactive said:

This issue including the attempted ousting of Sikh farmers in UP and Kutch as well as the attacks on Sikhs in Kashmir valley will continue because we do not understand how ethnic politics works in India. Why is it that there are no such actions against other ethnic minorities, why aren't Bengalis also being ousted from the Terai in UP where they have settled in larger numbers than Sikhs? It is because the UP govt knows that there are significant number of UP labourers working in Kolkata and other cities in West Bengal and they will face retaliation if Bengalis are harmed in UP. Same is the case for other ethnic minorities. A few years ago the rape a Gujarati baby girl by a Bhaiya set off riots which led to the ouster of thousands of Bhaiyas from Gujarat. Even a fake video about the massacre of Rohingyas in Myanmar set off riots against people from the North Eastern States in South India by Muslims. 

The reason these Sikhs in Shillong are being ousted is because we Sikhs and especially the Sikhs in Punjab now have the reputation that we will not retaliate against anything happening to Sikhs in the rest of India. This is why we are under attack in virtually every state. There were no attacks on Sikhs in the early 90s in Kashmir valley while the Kashmiri Pandits were forced out mainly because it suited Pakistan to keep the Khalistan movement on side as well as the fear that the Kharkoos were also capable of retaliation against Punjabi Muslims if Sikhs were targeted in Kashmir. Now that the movement is at a low ebb and previous Kashmiri murders of Sikhs such as at Chattisinghpora did not lead to any retaliation in Punjab then Pakistan sees nothing wrong in their proxies murdering Sikhs. 

With regard to Shillong, there are hundreds of North Eastern students studying in Punjab universities and colleges. The majority of them belong to leading and influential families in the north east as well as Meghalaya. If they faced some heat in Punjab then you will see how quick the Meghalaya govt withdraws its action against the Sikhs of Shillong. The politics of retaliation works in India. If after Chattisingpora there had been retaliation against the Kashmiris in Punjab then the targeting of Sikhs would have ended. But the last time we understood the politics of retaliation was when Santji would threaten retaliation if Sikhs outside Punjab were harmed. This was the case when Sikhs were threatened in Rajasthan and nothing come of the threat to them showing how well such politics works. 

Here are some of the north eastern student snowflakes in Punjab who while the Sikhs of Shillong were physically attacked last year were complaining about people in Punjab calling them Chinki or Corona!! 

'We Are Indians, Not Chinese': Northeast Students Request People Not To Call Them ‘Coronavirus’ | Watch

 

 

Us Sikhs think that our respect from doing good deeds.

However, it is actually from fear that we got our respect. 

As Machiavelli said "it is better to be feared than to be loved'

A little bit of fear goes a long way.

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2 hours ago, Ranjeet01 said:

Us Sikhs think that our respect from doing good deeds.

However, it is actually from fear that we got our respect. 

As Machiavelli said "it is better to be feared than to be loved'

A little bit of fear goes a long way.

That quote doesn't do justice to the whole section. Most of which is about the superiority of love.

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8 minutes ago, GurjantGnostic said:

That quote doesn't do justice to the whole section. Most of which is about the superiority of love.

I know.

But the quam wants to be loved.

Love won't get the respect.

It's not enough.

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2 minutes ago, Ranjeet01 said:

I know.

But the quam wants to be loved.

Love won't get the respect.

It's not enough.

The type of love he talks about, one really has to be in power to use. It's beyond Langar. We'd really have to be firing on all Purtan cylinders to garner it. 

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2 hours ago, Ranjeet01 said:

Us Sikhs think that our respect from doing good deeds.

I think many are starting to wise up to this, hence for example, the anger at Khalsa Aid for doing so much for other groups when Sikhs are in need.

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In the whole of India, our quam's propensity for violence is probably the greatest.

Where other groups look to take to looting and killing, our quam seems to be restrained.

It seems that in comparison to other groups we have the greatest tolerance threshold. 

However, I think that this patience and tolerance will eventually wane and the quam may snap.

Once the snap happens, the carnage will be immense. 

Where other groups try to justify their atrocities, our quam will feel great guilt upon we did even though it was after great provacation. 

It is because we judge ourselves to a higher standard than other groups. It fills us with disgust to lower ourselves to behave like these other groups.

I know we should see the human race as one, but the reality humans are not equal. Some are at a higher level than others. 

Our quam is at a higher level than the other groups in India. We are not a "chosen people" per se but we are a higher standard people.

If this upsets and ruffles some feathers, then so be it.

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2 minutes ago, Ranjeet01 said:

In the whole of India, our quam's propensity for violence is probably the greatest.

Where other groups look to take to looting and killing, our quam seems to be restrained.

It seems that in comparison to other groups we have the greatest tolerance threshold. 

However, I think that this patience and tolerance will eventually wane and the quam may snap.

Once the snap happens, the carnage will be immense. 

Where other groups try to justify their atrocities, our quam will feel great guilt upon we did even though it was after great provacation. 

It is because we judge ourselves to a higher standard than other groups. It fills us with disgust to lower ourselves to behave like these other groups.

I know we should see the human race as one, but the reality humans are not equal. Some are at a higher level than others. 

Our quam is at a higher level than the other groups in India. We are not a "chosen people" per se but we are a higher standard people.

If this upsets and ruffles some feathers, then so be it.

If not humans, Gurmat is above all this Manmat. 

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12 hours ago, Premi5 said:

I think many are starting to wise up to this, hence for example, the anger at Khalsa Aid for doing so much for other groups when Sikhs are in need.

KA and United Sikhs have tried lately to defend their idiocy by showing how they are also helping Sikhs by posting some pictures and videos online. I think even they know now that Ravi Singh attempt to act like some Gurdwara Pardhan and block anyone critical of him is now not working. Either they change their actions or they will lose what support they have among Sikhs. 

My hope is that Sikh and Punjab focussed charities like YourSeva and Sikh Relief overtake their two liberal charities. They harm these two have done far outweighs what little good they have done for Sikhs. 

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