A RASH of burglaries at residences of JNU professors inside campus has faculty members on edge after as many as six daylight burglaries were reported in a specific area of the campus last month. The latest break-in was reported Sunday afternoon when homes of two professors were found ransacked within hours of each other.
Faculty members and the administration said the burglaries followed a set pattern, with houses being targeted in the Dakshinapuram area on campus between 3 and 5 pm. Two of the six professors have filed FIRs at the Vasant Kunj (north) police station.
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JNU Rector Chintamani Mahapatra said the administration is taking steps to prevent such instances. “The pattern of burglaries has led to a widespread belief that the thieves are hiding somewhere within the JNU campus. So we are taking steps accordingly. Firstly, within a few days we are going to have a Town Hall interaction between senior police officers and the JNU community where they will sensitise people about how to prevent such instances. We are also thinking of starting some kind of community policing of the area,” he said.
JCP (southeastern range) R P Upadhaya said two such cases have been reported to them so far. “Of the two cases, one is already worked out. We are trying to work out the other case as well,” said Upadhaya.
Sources in the police said the campus was gated and only staff members were allowed to enter inside. “Private security guards keep a check on the visitors. We have questioned them as well,” said the JCP.
Professor Ritoo Jerath from the School of International Studies (SIS), who had gone out Sunday afternoon, came back to find her house (44 Dakshinapuram) had been burgled. “I left the house at 11.15 am and went to visit my mother. When I came back at 4.45 pm, one of the doors was ajar and the place was ransacked. I called police and JNU security immediately,” she said. She added that teachers suspected it was the work of people within the campus who knew their daily schedules.
Jerath’s neighbour, Professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy, said the robbers had broken into two other faculty members home — including that of Professor Sanjay Puri on Sunday. “Mrs Puri came home a little earlier than she usually does and she said she heard the thieves running away. Incidentally, the thieves did not break into the two houses next to Professor Jerath, which have dogs,” said Chenoy.
Professor Swaran Singh, also from SIS and lives across Professor Jerath, said his house too was broken into and ransacked on September 15. “My daughter is getting married in November and we had valuables at home. The thieves made away with a lot of items including jewellery, laptops, mobile phones and Rs 50,000 in cash. I had left my home at 2 pm for a class while the help stepped out at 3 pm. When she returned, she found one of the doors was shut from inside. She peeped through a window and saw that the door on the opposite end was open, and the place littered,” he said. Alcohol bottles were also found open.
He claimed that despite having filed an FIR, there has been little progress in the case. “I wrote about the incident to JNU authorities on September 19 but I’m yet to receive any acknowledgment,” he said.