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Following the detention and subsequent release of a National Law University, Delhi (NLU Delhi) student and a safai karamchari last week, alumni of the University have issued a statement condemning the police's action and the administration's inaction in the matter.
A statement signed by 172 alumni of NLU Delhi urges the administration to take no further coercive action against the student or the worker in question.
The statement reads as under:
On Friday, 19th June 2020, a current National Law University Delhi student Ekta Tomar and wrongfully removed Safai Karamchari Neetu Yadav were denied entry to the University campus, taken away by Sub Inspector Anuj Yadav (PS Sector 17, Dwarka) and were detained at the police station for nearly an hour. They were released only after the intervention of lawyers and activists.
We, the undersigned alumni of National Law University, Delhi express solidarity with the student representatives and workers. NLUD Workers- Students Solidarity has led a commendable and dignified effort towards the reinstatement of 55 workers over the past several months.
We also unequivocally condemn that the police were allowed to detain Ekta Tomar and Neetu Yadav, and that no one from the administration came to talk to them. As per the factual report released by NLUD Workers-Students Solidarity group, on the day of the incident, Ekta Tomar and Neetu Yadav were trying to enter the University premises with a copy of the order dated 17.06.2020, reinstating all the erstwhile Safai Karamcharis issued by the office of Sh. Gopal Rai, Hon’ble Labour Minister, Government of Delhi. Their sole endeavour was to meet officials from the administration.
Subsequently, a police officer arrived in plain clothes and threatened to book them under Section 188 of the IPC as well as for violating Section 144 of the CrPC after which they were taken to the police station and detained. The University administration did nothing to intervene and prevent this despite being aware of these events including the fact of police presence at the University gate. This inaction reveals that administration's acquiescence at best and involvement at worst, both of which are deeply troubling.
The University has made us what we are today. We feel an immense sense of pride at our privilege of being associated with the University of this stature, which has always encouraged its students to voice their opinion and peacefully protest against perceived wrongs. This unprecedented incident of the detention of a student and employee by the police is shocking and shameful. This brutal stifling of voices which were only trying to discuss the implementation of the order issued by the Hon’ble Labour Minister is inexcusable and is not expected from the National Law University, Delhi.
We hope that no further coercive actions are taken by the University against the student or worker in question or against any other individual involved in the effort for the worker’s reinstatement. We also hope that this incident is an aberration and never again will a student of National Law University, Delhi face coercive criminal action for upholding the rule of law and supporting the social mandate as per the University’s vision.
Last week, Delhi's Labour Minister Gopal Rai directed the University to reinstate the safai karamcharis whose services were terminated last December.
The terminated workers and a student, wielding the the Labour Minister's order, had assembled at the University gate on Friday morning to meet with the administration.
As per a statement issued by the student-run NLUD Workers-Students Solidarity, the NLU Delhi student was detained by police on allegations that she had instigated workers who assembled outside the gate to protest.
The worker and the student were eventually released following the intervention of friends, lawyers and activists. However, the student statement adds that they were released "with a warning that they would be booked by way of an FIR under Section 188 and 144 if they were found in the vicinity of the University."
[Read the statement]