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IISc Bengaluru students’ protest enters third day over security guard’s death

The protests held in the Faculty Hall building continue late evening for hours after which policemen from Sadashivanagara station were called in to pacify the protestors.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: July 4, 2019 10:06:51 am
Students-protest-IISc-Bengaluru-guards-death-safety-concern Protests erupted after a 24-year-old guard was killed after a newly installed iron gate fell on him and two others on Sunday. Express Photo

Indian Institute of Science (IISc) students sat on protest for the third consecutive day after a newly installed iron gate collapsed killing a security guard inside campus.

According to Sadashivanagara police, the incident happened on Sunday when the guard, identified as 24-year-old Gautam Biswal, was opening the sliding metal gate at IISc’s main entrance. “A case has been charged for negligence causing death and the contractor J.D. Nagaraj has been arrested on Monday as part of the ongoing investigation,” a police official told Indianexpress.com. “The gates did not have a locking system to keep it in place when closed which led to the collapse,” the officer added. The institute had then announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the deceased.

Students-protest-IISc-Bengaluru-guards-death-safety-concern Students continue to demand their representation in the committee set up by the IISc Director to look into the matter. Express Photo

A committee headed by IISc director Prof. Anurag Kumar has also been constituted to look into the matter. However, protests continued on Wednesday as students demanded transparency into the investigation. “We have demanded the immediate suspension of project engineer Col. Arun Sharma and another contractor. These men are still working at IISc and we are unaware of how many other false safety-clearances have been issued,” a statement shared by a group of students online read.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, a protesting student said that the demand to include two student representatives in the committee was not approved by the director which led to their decision to continue protests. “We welcome his decision to suspend the engineer and another contractor but we reiterate that our representation in the committee is unavoidable. Else, we have demanded a written official statement from the director’s office to keep students updated on the issue,” the student said.

The protests held inside the Faculty Hall building continued till late evening after which policemen from Sadashivanagara station were called in to pacify the protestors. According to the students, police officials tried to act as mediators speaking to the director and the students on the issue. “IIsc has geared up several construction activities as new buildings, pavements, gates, roofs and drainages continue to be set up. Hence the matter of concern for all students on campus are growing day by day which calls for an immediate and transparent update on various safety measures taken to avoid such untoward incidents in future,” another protestor said.

IISc-student-demands-statement-group-protestors-called-off-protest Student protesters meet IISc Director Prof. Anurag Kumar and other officials in the Faculty Hall building. Express Photo

It is also alleged that campus security officers were directed to stay away from joining students in the protest. Around 200 people work as security officers in the 400-acre campus.

However, the director’s office chose not to respond when Indianexpress.com contacted them for a comment.

UPDATE: Students called off the protest Wednesday late evening after the IISc Director informed them on immediate disciplinary action taken against the accused of negligence in work causing the guard’s death. “The Director also promised that the internal investigation committee led by him would share the detailed report of the investigation with us,” a protester told.

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