Meeting began at approximately 7.20pm. Pranjal Bhaiya joined the meeting approximately 5-10 minutes after it began.
TOTO NARAYAN volunteered to be the moderator.
TANMAY suggested we produce joint minutes.
TANMAY kicked things off by asking if those present constituted the entire legal team.
AMAN and AJAY responded that there were many other people on the team but that they were told only to bring 5-7 people.
TOTO asked Vikrant to state the purpose of the meeting. It was agreed that everyone was looking for a beautiful and stronger Mirambika. The shared purpose was to go back to Mirambika and nothing more.
MANIT asked if there was a common purpose we could agree on, such as going back to the mirambika building.
PRANJAL said that he had to leave soon. He says that until land use is changed on paper we will not go back. The DoE meeting went well and will go back when get permission from the DDA. The DDA VC [in a meeting today] said the report of the surprise inspection has yet to arrive, it has to go through the legal cell and will take 10-12 days. The VC said he would call when the report was ready.
MEKHALA asked for a show of hands of those who supported a return to Mirambika. Most hands were raised.
AJAY said that he had given a written opinion from a retired high court judge, but the management had not provided any similar documentation. Ajay noted that management wants a representation from the DDA that there is no threat to the school and asked if the management had written to the DDA to seek that representation.
In response to a request from TANMAY that the parents legal help draft a letter to the DDA, SUMAN notes that he had already told Pranjal that while the parents legal team can help draft the letter, the request had to come from the Society because the parents legal team is not a lessor or lessee. AJAY agreed to draft a letter to the DDA seeking clarification, but insisted that this be done in a time-bound manner.
PRANJAL leaves the meeting. Time is7.40PM, He had been present for approximately 10 minutes.
SHURO and other members of the parents legal team ask who is authorized to speak for Pranjal. Receiving no reply, they move to leave the venue.
KRISHNA objected that it is not fair to call so many people and then leave after 10 minutes. Reduces this to a farcical exercise. This indicates the seriousness of the exercise.
MEKHALA gave an account of yesterday’s DoE meeting: Vikrant came from the management side; we were told that it was not right that the children were moved to the ashram, the DoE was not happy with arbitrary move of 200 children from their rightful premises. Then Vikrant proposed preponing the summer holiday starting the next day and we could make up the time by starting earlier. The Director told Vikrant he did not have the authority to make that decision. The Director also said that delaying Red Group entry until July was also not allowed. The VC of DDA has given verbal clean chit to move back and that DDA poses no threat. There is a real threat from Manish Sisodia, if DoE will cease to recognize school and the government will take it over. We don’t want that, we want the school, Mekhala said, but the only person who can make that happen is the gentleman who left the meeting.
AMAN noted that the school has been running for 30 years with no problem and calls for it to be moved backtomorrow. The LG supports a return, he called the VC DDA in front of us, there is no threat according to the LG or DDA. Aman went on to state that you can’t move a school just like that, and that the move itself creates a threat. He also noted that a technical college requires different land use permission than other colleges.
SHURO pointed out that the only thing that has changed is one individual, that Pranjal Jauhar is the one who has made all the changes. Shuro warned that these changes will result in the loss of the school and loss of the land. There has been no notice; Pranjal Jauhar is the only reason our kids are in jeopardy.
AVIJIT said that he was told if the school was not moved back the LG will order the Delhi Police be called in to forcibly move the school back to Mirambika. He said that the VC DDA told Pranjal to move the children back, making the point that you have thrown the children out after 30 years based on a feeling. Moving the school was completely arbitrary. Avijit made an appeal that we not delay and move back to the school premises immediately. He also noted that even if one was committing a crime for 30 years, what difference another 15 days makes. He ended by warning that if we don’t move in the next day, Delhi Police will be called in. I don’t want my kids to say that there was police in the school.
KRISHNA stated his disappointment that the decision-maker has left the meeting after 5 minutes and said that it revealed the farcical nature of the exercise and the seriousness with which management approached it. He noted that the DDA VC said that the DDA has not disturbed the school in 30 years or in the last 6 months and that it has not sent the school even one notice on misuse of land. Krishna also pointed out that the overnight move of the school has exposed the school to a higher level of jeopardy and threat – he asked why people who love the school would expose it to a higher risk when we should lower risk if possible. The least risky option is to move back to Mirambika,
VIKRANT related that Shuro and Krishna visited his house today. Vikrant says Shuro asked him to relay the following message to Pranjal since he had his ear: that what has happened so far is 5% and that it will be 25% then 50% and then 100% and that mirambika, MIS and the Ashram are in danger, you have 4.5 hours to convey this to Pranjal otherwise bad luck.
AVIJIT once again warned thattomorrow LG’s office will give order to Delhi Police. He said he spoke to a very senior police official who confirmed that he had been sounded out about action. Let’s go back, he appeals, nothing will change.
RAJESH expressed his disappointment that Pranjal had left the meeting and requested that he be called back and give us a chance to go back to the old premises. Rajesh also asked management not to talk about Trust and Faith when they act like a factory boss, picking up and dumping children here and there. Management is looking like a factory boss who kills his workers, Rajesh said.
TANMAY reiterated the management claim that the threat is real and that until there is a document that proves otherwise there is a risk. He asked what prevents us from getting the verbal reassurances that the parents legal team have received in writing. He argued that it was a reasonable request to get an NOC, the question is how do you get that.
KRISHNA noted that parents have many options and that all these options have risks. All we are looking for is the least risky solution here, he said.
AJAY said that he believes Pranjal has been misled by those who are advising him. These advisers have engineered this crisis – there is no crisis, no threat. We went to an external judge and got an opinion in writing that we have shared. On the other side this hasn’t happened, they haven’t provided anything to show there is a crisis. The crisis was engineered by people who are advising Pranjal. The lessor has not objected to the school. The lessee is saying for the last 30 years we have been wrong. So one fine day, even having received no notice the children are moved. By making a sudden arbitrary move you cannot wash your sins away. Ajay also noted that even if there were to be action against the school, it has access to legal remedies, parents will fight for you. Ajay said that the parents legal team cannot support a college unless Mirambika is returned.
AVIJIT noted that the two DDA inspectors who came a few days ago have given their initial report and it was under discussion until6.30 pm yesterday. He said that although the VC does not have the report in hand he has seen it unofficially. Avijit suggests that there be an application for a change in land use, a process that takes two months, and that we move back in the interim to avoid action by law enforcement officials. It has been brought to the notice of some senior officers in MHRD and also discussed in Ministry of Home affairs. He again reiterated his point that even if we were committing a crime for 30 years, what difference does an extra two months make.
MEKHALA said in response to Tanmay that for the DDA to give something in writing the request must come from the Society. She pointed out that management requests something in writing to show no threat, but it didn’t ask anything in writing to support the threat. Do you have an answer for that, she asked.
AJAY noted that there has been no good faith from the management — there is a website running that shows an engineering college on the school premises in contravention of the lease. Ajay said that management delayed things so that a fait accompli could be presented to parents.
MANIT noted that before he exited the meeting Pranjal asked for help drafting a letter to DDA and if the response is positive we will move back.
KRISHNA said that it would have been useful for Pranjal to be present so that he could answer Mekhala’s question about why he didn’t require anything in writing before taking drastic action.
MANIT said Pranjal is worried that he is on the wrong side of the law and did what he did to correct that. He would be happy to move back if given a clean chit. Manit then said one scenario is that we get it in writing and move back. He asked that we move backtomorrow would all the complaints floating around be withdrawn. And if so, he asked, have we created the trouble for ourselves.
REENA, in an emotional intervention, asked how Pranjal could have left the meeting. She said she was neutral and was chosen to be a note-taker, but when the minutes of the meeting will go out tomorrow and state that Pranjal Bhiya left the meeting. What message will go out to the parents? That the meeting was a farce? She asked if Pranjal was not available, why the meeting was called in the first place.
VIKRANT attempted to respond citing the visit he received from Shuro and Krishna that afternoon.
SHURO stated that April 14 was brutal and unjustifiable, but that responses have been remarkable restrained so far with no involvement of the courts or the media. He warned that if 14 April was not reversed within one to two days then there was no choice but to address the courts and the media.
AVIJIT again called for us to move back while we work to get everything in Mirambika’s favour. He warned of “administrative atrocities” if the school was not moved back immediately.
NARENDRA said that parents need to be open and willing to listen. He did not see that openness amongst the parents. He noted that Pranjal has suggested a line of action and that we pursue it. Let’s create a document and we can work it out given the influence that we bring to the table.
AMAN responded that the fact that no one has gone to the media or to the courts demonstrates parents’ openness. He noted that for a crime that we are not sure we committed we are committing five new crimes by moving the children and opening a technical college.
KRISHNA noted that the DDA has in fact given an NOC many times in the past given that Mirambika could not run without NOCs from the DDA – these were given to construct the building, to run the school and to upgrade the facilities. Krishna notes that the last NOC was given by the DDA in 2009.
TOTO said that he wants to see Mirambika prosper and has attended many private company management meetings, but he has never seen such childish, behaviour as that displayed by Pranjal. Toto called on Sulochana didi and Jayanthy didi to hold him accountable for that. He said that Pranjal is not showing leadership by walking out of a meeting after five minutes. Toto argued that an engineering college is not an objective that is aligned with the core values of mirambika or the ashram. He noted that due to poor advice and bad leadership, a sequence of events has been set into motion that is now no longer in the control of individuals or groups.
SUMAN said that he and Ajay could help with the letter but the school must move back first and the communication must come from the Aurobindo Society. We will provide all the support but should not be met with a fait accompli.
AVIJIT asked that the draft letter be giventomorrow.
AJAY corrected some of Avijit’s earlier assertions regarding land use and noted that no change of land use is required for Mirambika.
SULOCHANA DIDI and JAYANTHY DIDI called for us to work together, noted that Pranjal is under some stress. They said they would ask Pranjal to do something.
MANIT asked if, in the event the DDA did not give the school a clean chit, parents legal team would be willing to move back to the Ashram. He argued that we must comply with the DDA’s decision no matter what it is — if favourable, school stays, if not it moves again.
AJAY said that if, based on the lease deed, the affidavit by Kashyap, and the DDA’s letter affirming the affidavit, the DDA says we are in the wrong we will fight it out in court free of cost. Ajay also noted that the DDA can be influenced and that he would not be willing to accept a negative decision by the DDA and that he would instead fight it out in court on behalf of the school free of cost.
Vijaya Bharti Didi