Schools in Kolkata are turning to the CCTV, rattled by the shooting of a student in a Visva-Bharati hostel a day ago.
On Sunday, Rabindrasangeet student Saswati Pal was shot dead by her former boyfriend in her room in Santiniketan. Amaresh Kundu, who then shot himself in the temple, died later that night.
The incident has made South Point High School, which has 13,000 students, sit up. It has decided to instal close-circuit televisions (CCTVs) in all common areas, except the classroom, teachers’ room and toilets. “We are taking quotations from some companies and will soon finalise the deal. With incidents like this (in Santiniketan) on the rise, we feel the CCTV would help us track bullies and the students likely to breach discipline and offer them counselling,” said Krishna Damani, spokesperson for the school.
On December 11, two students shot a classmate dead in a fit of anger in a Gurgaon school. In Satna, Madhya Pradesh, a 15-year-old boy shot a junior dead on the school premises on January 3.
Like South Point, Heritage School will also instal CCTVs from the 2008 academic session. Apart from common areas and the entrance, the surveying eye will also monitor the basin area of toilets. “It has been seen that most of the school shooting conspiracy has been hatched in toilets. In the Satna incident, the student hid the gun in the toilet. Hence, we felt it necessary to have a camera in the basin area,” said Seema Sapru, principal of Heritage school.
Parents have also requested for CCTV surveillance. “We were not in a hurry to put up CCTVs but many guardians have mentioned in their feedback form the need to have them installed at the earliest. After the incidents at Gurgaon and Satna, they feel that some sort of surveillance is necessary. So, the school plans to put up the cameras from the beginning of the next academic session,” said Sangita Sindey Kar of DPS New Town, on Kolkata’s outskirts.
Schools like St James, La Martiniere for Girls, La Martiniere for Boys, St Thomas Boys’, St. Thomas Girls and Pratt Memorial, which come under the Churches of North India, too, would install CCTVs. “We will definitely put up CCTVs in all our schools but the question is will that be enough to tackle the trouble. The problem is in some students and mere surveillance will not solve it,” said Reverend PSP Raju, archbishop of CNI Kolkata and head of all the CNI schools in the region.
Calcutta University and Jadavpur University have decided to beef up security on the campus.