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HT team breaches ?foolproof? security on PU campus

TAKE THE claims of the UT Police of ?foolproof? pre-poll security on the Panjab University campus with a pinch of salt. A Hindustan Times team, comprising a reporter and photographer, today drove unchecked around the campus with a car loaded with weapons and even openly photographed the weapons at several points ? all under the noses of the ?vigilant? cops.

india Updated: Sep 11, 2003 19:59 IST

Giving the lie to cops’ claims of watertight arrangements

TAKE THE claims of the UT Police of “foolproof” pre-poll security on the Panjab University campus with a pinch of salt. A Hindustan Times team, comprising a reporter and photographer, today drove unchecked around the campus with a car loaded with weapons and even openly photographed the weapons at several points – all under the noses of the “vigilant” cops.
The HT team entered the campus at least five times during the evening from gate nos. 2 and 3 in the car. The car, loaded with swords, khukri, iron rods, wooden sticks and hockey sticks, was given an easy passage, with the cops not bothering even once to stop the car for a search.
The HT team went up to the gate of the Vice-Chancellor's office, Administrative Block and a girls' hostel, and easily managed to take pictures of the weapons kept openly on the rear seat of the car. Ironically, neither any police personnel, nor any security guard of Panjab University was seen patrolling the area. The HT team kept on moving inside the campus in the same car for more than an hour without anyone questioning them.
Police personnel and PU security guards deployed on both the entry gates to the campus – Gate Nos. 2 and 3 – are supposed to maintain a proper record of all the vehicles entering the university. But the ground reality is something very different. Most vehicles entering the campus everyday are neither checked nor are their registration numbers recorded in the entry registers. Rather, the police personnel deployed on the entrance gates could be seen relaxing under trees and letting vehicles pass without any checking.
Moreover, the closure of Gate No. 1 also raises questions, as checking is a mere formality at the other gates that are open. Instead, the police have caused great inconvenience to people by closing the gate in the name of security, particularly those going to the PGI, who now have to take a longer route to the hospital.
The Chandigarh Police have been boasting about foolproof security on the PU campus in wake of the forthcoming Panjab University students' elections and claim to have intensified patrolling on the campus after an attack on three students about a month back.
However, the truth is that police presence on the campus is negligible, except a Police Control Room vehicle that patrols the area only during daytime.
The police are sitting smug by merely erecting barricades on both the entrance gates and assuming that their presence will be deterrent enough. They may be quick to raid hostels in case of an incident of violence, but the raids have never yielded anything in the past.
It is learnt from sources that a good number of unauthorised persons are already staying in various hostels on the campus, reportedly possessing weapons such as revolvers, pistols and swords.
Interestingly, even the university authorities are turning a blind eye to these facts and simply relying upon the Chandigarh Police to check any violence during the polls.

Cops still stick to claim
UT SSP Gaurav Yadav, when contacted, said, “We will intensify police patrolling on the campus and ensure that no untoward
incident takes place. We would also conduct checks in hostels and maintain law and order situation on the campus.
We are already conducting random checks at the entrance gates and would continue doing so. However, a 100 per cent check is not feasible.”

First Published: Sep 11, 2003 19:59 IST