PARTICIPANTS IN a marathon at IIT-Bombay on Sunday morning were in for a rude shock when they found their cellphones and laptops, kept in their cars parked outside the campus, stolen.
Owners of five to six cars found windows smashed and devices missing when they completed the race and returned to their vehicles parked on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR). “We received complaints of thefts from five to six people early Sunday and are conducting an investigation,” said Navinchandra Reddy, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone X.
IIT and Kandivali-based fitness and sports training company Fitizen India had jointly organised Sunday’s event, which had 5, 10 and 21 kilometre runs in different age and gender categories. While organisers said that 3,800 people had registered for the races, nearly 4,000 people attended the event inside the Powai campus.
Officers at the Powai police station claimed they were not informed about the event by the organisers. “They did not submit a letter informing us of the event and of the number of people in attendance. Since no permission was sought from us, we could not have made security and parking arrangements,” an officer said.
The officer added that it was the prerogative of the complainants to register complaints of negligence against the organisers but that no such complaints have been received so far.
One of the organisers of the event maintained that the participants had parked on the road and left their valuables inside at their own risk. Ankita Asthana, a co-founder of Fitizen India, said that the local police station had no role in managing the event. “IIT’s internal security took care of everything and things went off without a hitch inside. The police were not required to do anything inside.”
However, Asthana added that instructions had been sent to marathon participants in advance that no parking facilities would provided inside the institute’s campus. “We had made this clear in the manuals handed out to participants before the races. After that, it was up to the participants to park their cars on the road and leave valuables inside at their own risk.
We cannot be held responsible for the thefts,” she said. She added that the organisers had spoken to the local traffic division to ensure that participants’ cars were parked in a manner that did not obstruct the movement of traffic on the JVLR. “Some 300 cars were parked on the road. Our volunteers and the traffic police helped find parking spots but we could not have left so many volunteers to watch the cars,” Asthana said.