THE UNION Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has granted “in principle” approval for the permanent deployment of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on the Visva-Bharati University campus in Santiniketan.
As reported by The Indian Express on October 30, Visva-Bharati Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty had sought CISF personnel on the campus, citing incidents of confrontation between the university administration and students and karamcharis (staff). The HRD Ministry had written to the CISF Director-General last month, backing his request.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Wednesday, Higher Education Secretary R Subrahmanyam confirmed the MHA’s approval, but added that the HRD Ministry has dropped the plan and is now exploring “other options” to address the university’s security concerns.
Currently, no central university has paramilitary forces or even police personnel stationed permanently on campus. In 2017, the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) had made a similar request, claiming that its security was inadequate to handle such a huge campus. The request is still pending.
The MHA has granted approval to the CISF to carry out a joint survey to assess the university’s requirement for security personnel as well as the accommodation facilities on campus. Visva-Bharati, MHA has clarified, will have to bear the cost of deployment, including the provision of meals and suitable accommodation for the security personnel.
In his letter to the HRD ministry, V-C Chakrabarty had said that the private security personnel currently employed by the university owe their allegiance to the “TMC local bosses” and, hence, “disobey” Visva-Bharati’s security officer “with impunity”.
He had also cited the protest by students in May this year against the increase in the price of application forms. The students had held a sit-in protest, preventing faculty members and officials from leaving the campus. The V-C alleged that in such instances, the security guards “remained silent onlookers” and even created enabling conditions for the protesters.
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