Mumbai schools beef up security to have a safe Republic Day

With the shadow of the Peshawar attack still looming large, some schools have hired more security personnel and taken the help of the local police, while others have decided to scale down the size of their R Day functions

With the memories of the Peshawar attack still fresh, many schools have decided to scale up security measures for their Republic Day functions. Since these functions pull in large crowds, schools have hired more security guards, asked for help from the local police or decided to make the events more low-key than usual.

Keeping step with the times: Schools are taking no chances since the city is on high alert. File pic
Keeping step with the times: Schools are taking no chances since the city is on high alert. File pic

“Apart from the staff members, we usually have 400-odd children participating in the Republic Day celebrations on our school campus every year. The numbers will remain the same this year as well and, hence, we have recently hired new security personnel,” said Ramakant Pandey, principal of Bansidhar Agarwal School in Wadala.

As an additional measure, the school has also written to the local police, requesting for higher vigilance around the premises during the function. “Pulling in large crowds in one place can get worrisome for us, so we wrote to the police about this. They have given us a positive reply and have agreed to make rounds of the school premises,” added Pandey.

Cop inputs
Following the Peshawar attack, a circular was uploaded on the CBSE website in December, outlining the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be followed in schools in times of crisis. This circular had been issued the Ministry of Home Affairs and a similar circular was then sent to schools and colleges throughout the city by the Mumbai police. The circular, released by the Commissioner of Police, not only outlined the procedure schools should follow in case of terror attacks or any other form of violence inside or outside their institution, but also listed other measures that they could take to enhance security.

Since the beginning of this month, teams from the local police have been conducting regular meetings with school heads to make implementation of security measures easier for the schools as well as students and parents. “While a couple of meetings have taken place, we have requested the local police to visit our school every week to keep an eye on the campus. We don’t want any lapses to happen at any point of time,” said Fr Francis Swamy, coordinator, Jesuit Schools of Bombay. He added that, of late, schools have become very aware of the need to remain vigilant when there are large gatherings within school premises.

While schools are usually known to organise big rallies and get-togethers on Republic Day every year, some schools have downsized their celebrations this time around. “We have a small ground so we will be calling only a section of the students to school for the flag hoisting celebrations on Monday. It’ll become easier to handle a small crowd and we have already beefed up security within our school premises,” said Rohan Bhatt, chairperson, Children’s Academy Group of Schools.

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