"Most of our people who came here got jobs with the municipality and later some got other jobs but all Punjabi migrants stayed here together and this settlement is from the times of British-era. At that time we had good relations with the local Khasi tribe," Mr Singh told NDTV.
After five days of stand-off between security forces and an agitated mob, today Shillong has been calm. In most part of the city, life is limping back to normal but there is a palpable tension as curfew during the night continues.
The colony was established to house the sweepers and workers of the municipality -- mostly migrants from Punjab and the land was donated by the tribal chief of the area. After Independence the land belongs to the government.
Tension first began around 30 years ago with the dominant Khasi tribals wanting the Punjabis to be relocated. Conflicts have erupted on and off over the years, this time residents say it has been more intense.
The current unrest started when an altercation between the residents of Punjabi Lane and a Khasi bus conductor happened on last Thursday.
However, the younger generation in the area have more interactions with Khasi youths. "We heard about violence, clashes and curfews of past but for our generation this is now in Shillong. We never thought this can happen. We also have a friend circle where we party with a lot of Khasi boys and girls and we are now perplexed," said Sandeep Singh.
"We have no problems with the genuine residents who worked with the municipality, but over time the area has become hub of people who are illegal, the area is encroached and is a den of anti-social elements and not only Khasi but other non-tribals have also complained about this," said Lambokstarwell Marngar, President, Khasi Students' Union.
Residents of Punjabi Lane vote in every elections but in the last 30 years the government never made a serious effort to solve the dispute over the contested settlement.
"The issue has been there for a long time. And whatever may be the issue it needs to be resolved because every time it comes up, it creates trouble and people suffer," Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma told NDTV.
Political parties have supported the chief minister's decision to form a high level committee to look into the demand of relocation of Punjabi Lane.
For now, flag march by the army has been effective in bringing calm to Shillong, but the challenge ahead for the government is to bring total normalcy and resolve the dispute over the settlement without much hassle to any community.
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