Security and the enforcement of speed limit at south Delhi’s sprawling Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus depend on a measly network of around a hundred security guards.
One of them had unsuccessfully ‘tried to stall’ three drunk students who were killed in a road accident late on Thursday night as they had whizzed past him.
As more details about the incident emerged a day later, police officials said such accidents and some law and order situations common to academic institutions were the outcome of JNU having traditionally kept its doors shut to the police. “The university administration doesn’t allow even PCRs to patrol the campus and depends on a handful of guards with walkie-talkies to do everything from enforcing speed limit to patrolling areas designated ‘sensitive’,” said a police officer.
“Most complaints ranging from sexual harassment to smaller crimes reach the local police station several days later than they occur. Many such incidents can be controlled with mere police visibility on campus,” the officer added.
According to a senior official, the university employs around 300 guards who are deployed across a four-kilometre campus.
These personnel work in three shifts of eight hours each which means that only a hundred of them are on duty at any given point on the campus. According to its 2012 report, over 7,300 students are enrolled at JNU.
HT spoke to several students across both campuses on police deployment. Disha Kapkoti, a student of MA (English) at DU said, “I understand that ‘policing’ bears possible negative connotations in a liberal academic territory, but we are heavily dependent on the Delhi police for order and an academic institution neither has the power nor the administrative capability to serve us right.”
However, Anupama Gautam, a resident of JNU said, “In JNU, there is already an internal security system that functions and there is a police patrolling vehicle that is always on guard right outside the university boundary so I don’t see why they should be allowed to interfere in the working of a perfectly functional administrative unit.”
When contacted, SK Sopoy, V-C of JNU, said: “Our network of security is sufficient to enforce speed limits and securing the campus. A fact-finding committee by the chief proctor has been instituted to investigate the accident.”