Three SPYF members, who were detained for allegedly joining the Alkem Pharma workers in their protest demanded minimum wages, were released from Namchi Police Station in Sikkim at about 11:30 am on Wednesday.

Rupen Karki, Lekhak Sharma and Praveen Basnett were detained from about ‘a kilometre away’ from the protest as they were returning around 6 pm on Tuesday. The SPYF claimed the members were in attendance at the protest, following an invitation by the protesting labourers. Upon release, the SPYF members spoke with EastMojo.

We were detained as a preventive measure against inciting the situation of Alkem Pharma protest, Sharma said.

“We were detained at 5:30 pm on Tuesday from Samardung and released at 11:30 this morning. There is no condition from Sikkim Police to curtail the SPYF members from attending the protest of Alkem Pharma in Samardung. It is an unconditional release, we were not taken to the magistrate,” Karki told EastMojo.

Praveen Basnett said they were detained but not kept in lockup but in the investigation officer’s room for the night. “We have once again been invited by the Alkem workers to attend protest today and there is no stopping from the police.”

On release of the new notification from Sikkim labour department announcing a 67% hike in the minimum wages, the SPYF members said, “We welcome the new notification released by the labour department today. It has been our struggle to ensure that the daily wage earners and workers get a minimum wage of Rs. 15,000. We welcome as it is better than Rs. 9000 currently. However, it is still less than our demand for Rs. 21,000. SPYF and the workers have strived long and hard and even put behind bars for it.”

On Sikkim Police arresting them from Samardung, SPYF stated, “How Sikkim Police handles a situation such as this is a general fact. We agree every bit with what one of our members has stated yesterday. The random detaining is something we condemn and hope Sikkim Police will not repeat the incident,” said the members upon release.

Also read | Sikkim: 3 SPYF members detained from near Alkem protest site

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