The Sentinels Speak
Following recent miscommunication between the Security officials and the student community, Team MM decided to look into the various aspects of the security administration. For accomplishing this, we interviewed the Chief Security Officer, Shri Balaram Champatiray, seeking clarification on the recent fall of events.
MM: Is it true that girls are not allowed to go beyond the junction of Scholar Avenue and Gulmohar Street? A few incidents have been heard of wherein the security personnel asked the girls to return as they were not supposed to go beyond that point.
CSO: The regulation says that girls are allowed access to the entire length of the Scholar Avenue, till the cycle repairing shop. But the lane adjacent to the boundary of C. V. Raman Hall and the one along the Satish Dhawan Hall are off-limits to the girls since those streets have dysfunctional street lamps and are dark, hence not safe after 6 p.m.
To address this problem new lighting has been installed everywhere on campus with their own backup generator so that every road and pathway is well lit. If any light does not function, you can contact me immediately and I’ll rectify the situation. I even assure you that the road behind the south guest house leading to KMS Hall of residence will be well lighted. I am aware of the poor lighting behind CVR Hall of Residence and action will be taken with LED lamps installed in place of the current sodium lamps. Also, as soon as proper lightning is ensured across the campus, adequate security will be deployed and girls will no longer be restricted on those roads.
MM: There are no fixed guidelines for students to follow with respect to security measures and according to a latest poll on Monday Morning, 83% of students feel that communication between the administration and students need to be stepped up.
CSO: We are currently working on a set of guidelines to be followed for the security of the residents. Talks with the Director are on and the document will soon be made available to the public. It shall clearly list the areas that cannot be visited, the regulation regarding the various gates, the entry time for the hostels, relaxation during fests and other concerns.
MM: When can we expect this draft of the security guidelines to be ready?
CSO: The draft has already been prepared and only requires bureaucratic clearance to be amended and finalized. The new security guidelines being proposed will be revised with inputs from students and the Director.
MM: During the night-long sky gazing event organized by Astro Club during Innovision ’15, girls were not permitted to participate. Why was the restriction imposed? And was this rule in effect last year?
CSO: The restriction was placed because there were no faculty member supervising the event. In the case of any emergency/mishaps, the authorities would be held responsible. But the issue was resolved that night. The club president called me up at nearly 1 a.m. and after a professor arrived at the spot, the problem was resolved. The faculty needs to be equally responsible for students under their care. Last year, there was a professor at the site and hence there were no issues.
MM: There should be some relaxation in the rules during fests such as Innovision for the convenience of the organizers and participants. However, various issues cropped up in the recent fest. Could you shed some light on this matter?
CSO: Firstly, there was poor communication between the SAC authorities and security. Had they asked me to make special relaxations, I would have. I well understand the need for flexible timings during important events; what I am asking for is that the students get a written permission from me. After that if they face any problems they can always call me up, I assure that the issue will be immediately resolved.
The students are requested to not ask for permission (for extension of permission or other requests) to the guards; but rather contact me directly. This is necessary since guards cannot provide permission and the CSO is responsible for making such decisions. Also, any material to be transported should be done through the main gate (in front of main building) and special permission should be availed if any other gate is used. We have a big campus with multiple gates dealing with massive influx of people and goods and these regulations have been put in place for this reason. All this is mentioned in the new security guidelines being proposed.
Regarding permission for girls to leave their hostels after 10:00 p.m., the rules are relaxed during fest times and this has the Director’s nod. Any problems arising are solely due to the respective Warden of each hostel and the Security has nothing to do with this.
MM: Why is there such a stringent application of rules during night-time while there are no such regulations in other institutes such as the IITs?
CSO: The official entry time for girls is 10:00 p.m. and for boys is 11:00 p.m. This is not enforced stringently and I am always willing to listen to reason, but I request that you duly inform me (CSO) and your respective Hall Warden in these special circumstances.
The main reason why students are requested to inform their Warden and CSO for staying out at night is due to certain events that occur which the security are hard pressed to keep track of. The recent death of the second year student and certain other indiscretions of couples, which I am loath to utter here, have forced us to be more vigilant in monitoring the campus at night. Though this is a somewhat common occurrence with so many students residing on campus, it is the Security who is forced to be responsible in place of the Wardens.
MM: Do the security personnel report to you or the Warden of the hostel they are posted at?
CSO: All the security personnel directly communicate any problems with me. We have around ten hostels with a Warden and Assistant Warden for each, headed by a Chief Warden. But the rules are uniform for all of them. In order to avoid any confusion with so many authorities involved, the regulation states that every security concern is to be dealt with by the Chief Security Officer.
MM: Is there a message you would like to communicate to the students?
No institute can function without the cooperation of students and hence, I request that the student body cooperate with the security, since we are here for your convenience and protection. In case of any problems, call the Chief Security Officer; I'll be happy to address them.
If there is any problem or you require an escort, the security guards will help you out; it’s part of their job.