Instead of beefing up security at girls’ hostels, Bhopal Hostel Owners’ Association queerly suggests girls shouldn’t be allowed to meet boys to avoid a Monday-like incident.
On Monday, a girl had to jump off a moving vehicle when she was being allegedly kidnapped by four boys right from her hostel gate in MP Nagar. HT investigations proved that the incident not only exposed a lack of safety for girls on the road but also near their hostels which usually have ill-equipped guards. There are about 1000-odd private girls hostels in the city which are indirectly governed by the Bhopal Hostel Owners’ Association.
However, when asked for safety steps, association secretary Suhas Girani said, “The incident like what happened on Monday could be avoided by putting a complete ban on allowing girls to meet their (boy)friends before or near the hostel.”
Talking to HT, girl hostel inmates complained of a poor security near hostels in the night hours. “Gangs of boys gather in front of the hostel. They pass comment at the girls. They perform stunts and also disturb us by blowing horns. In the evening, it is too unsafe to even stand in front of the hostel,” said an engineering student, who lives in a hostel in MP Nagar Zone 1.
In the name of security, every hostel has one guard at the gate. These guards don’t have any arms for the protection. Even, they are not trained to handle hooligans. One thing which they are instructed to do in the emergency is to call the owner.
“Many times, miscreants do indecent acts in front of the hostel and when we ask guards to take action against them. They get scared. They always say that their work is only to keep an eye on whereabouts of girls and to stop outsiders from entering the hostel,” a girl hosteller said.
Guard Ramkumar Patel said, “I am not trained enough to stop youngsters who create a ruckus on the road. Even, I don’t have any arms to deal in the emergency situation. We avoid getting involved in any matter of boys because it is a risky affair.”
Girani said guards were appointed for precautionary purpose. They are not appointed to deal with hooligans. “In the case of an emergency, we call the police,” he said.
Lack of law
In Bhopal, hostels run on a self-styled security model. Neither the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) nor the district administration has any specific security guidelines for them. “In the absence of guidelines, we follow the rules formulated by the association,” said Gopal Dhakad a hostel owner.
The presence of the police in the area is enough to check hooligans around the hostels, said Kajal Singh, a student. Even Girani said, “When the police start regular patrolling in the area, all the activities of miscreants stop immediately.”
“There is also need to put a check on students, who live on rent in independent room,” he suggested.
Bhopal IG Yogesh Chaudhary also said there was need for a proper law to regulate hostels.
COPS TO INCREASE VIGIL
Springing into action a day after four men tried to abduct a 21-year-old student from posh MP Nagar area, the city police have decided to increase patrol in areas having more girls’ hostels and coaching institutions to check anti-social activities.
Inspector general of police Yogesh Choudhary told HT on Tuesday that police patrol cars will regularly survey areas near girls’ hostels and coaching institutions.
“Police will also issue advisories to hostel owners to implement security measures, like installing CCTV cameras and stationing trained guards,” Choudhary said.
“Hostels should also maintain a log to record the contact details of the visitors. It will help the police to nab a miscreant in case of any untoward incident near a hostel,” the IG added.
City superintendent of police Bhartendu Sharma said police regularly asks hostel owners and wardens to maintain proper record of students enrolled in the hostels. He said the Nirbhaya Mobile police, comprising all women cops, also regularly visited girls’ hostels and addressed their security problems.
4 booked for kidnapping bid on fashion designing student
Twenty-four hours after an abduction bid on a 21-year-old fashion designing student, police are yet to arrest any of the four youths who tried to force the victim into their car at Bhopal’s MP Nagar zone-2. Police said that the two main accused, identified as Amir Khan and Taiyyab Siddiqui, were absconding.
On Monday, Khan and Siddiqui along with two other accused tried to abduct the victim from the front of a students’ hostel around 9 pm. The girl escaped by jumping off the moving vehicle.
MP Nagar city SP Bhartendu Sharma said on Tuesday the police were searching for the accused since Monday night. “Police went to the house of Khan and Siddiqui, but they were not there…search is on (for them),” said Sharma. The police have registered a case against the four accused on charges of kidnapping.