Picture this. You can enter only after you flash your documents. You walk through a metal detector and your bag is searched meticulously. Cigarettes, penknives, key chains and hand sanitisers are confiscated. That’s not all. Even the bracelet on your hand is seized while you are frisked from head to toe. No, this isn’t the entrance to the Prime Minister’s office. It’s what you can expect at the city’s college festivals this year.
The recent serial blasts have led to increased concerns and hence, amplified security at all event venues. St. Xaviers College’s Malhar (August 13-15) will have metal detectors installed for the first time. The campus will also be evacuated and searched completely by bomb detection squads with sniffer dogs before the events of the first day begin. Says Silford Rodrigues, organiser-in-chief of security, “Every person on campus, from the student workforce to the Principal, will leave the premises for a brief period to cooperate with the bomb detection squad. On the remaining two days, police officials will be present.”
Recently, a special workshop was conducted for the 160-member strong security team of Malhar. Volunteers have been trained to frisk people and confiscate potentially harmful items. They have also been taught to deal with a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Meanwhile, NM Collge is preparing for their annual festival Umang (August 14-17) by tying up with a security firm for new equipment including walk-through metal detectors, hand-held LED lights, walkie-talkies, queue managers, snake chains and more. Says Kushan Parikh, head of security, “Last year, when Deepika Padukone visited our campus, the crowd outside crashed through one of our gates. So this year, we have arranged for more barricades and tighter security outside the gates. The Mumbai police will also be on campus within two minutes of a phone call, in case we need their support.”