UoP to deploy armed guards at hot spots

The University of Pune (UoP) will deploy its guards with weapons at all notorious spots on campus to prevent unlawful activities. The move follows the murder of security guard Pralhad Jogdandkar (54) on the University of Pune (UoP) campus on Thursday.

Dead end: The spot inside the Pune University where 54-year-old security guard Pralhad Jogdandkar was shot by an unidentified person on Thursday

Jogdandkar was shot after he caught a couple in a compromising position, and the incident kicked off a debate over security with students, staff and security guards expressing concern over the ease with which anyone can enter the vast campus and do almost anything under the thick cover of the trees there.

CSWs after dark
Students, particularly from the hostels, and staff claim that the issue of commercial sex workers (CSW) visiting the campus every now and then, and usually after dark, is being overlooked.

Since most parts of the 411-acre university campus are woodlands, couples have been found getting intimate at several places that offer the cover of trees. Students and staff say such behaviour often goes unchecked because of lack of security measures. “We have found liquor bottles and even undergarments near our hostel premises. Even though we’ve been complaining about it, no guard is being deployed there,” said Bhavesh S, a student.

Even staff members from the various departments say that the university is not aware of the issue though it needs to be urgently addressed. “Since there are six entrances, people can get in from any unguarded place,” said a professor.
Security officials say though they are not understaffed, they would be happier if the UoP sees to it that they remain secure and well equipped.

“The place is not very hostile and even though we can take care of ourselves, we want the management to increase the mode of interaction between the guards and the police in case of an unwarranted emergency. Fortunately, the police station is not very far and we can always seek their help,” said Maruti Kedari, chief security officer at UoP. There are about 150 security guards manning the campus during working hours, from 8 am to 8 pm every day.

“There are few guards deployed after office hours and it is difficult to keep a tab on any anti-social activities during dark. It’s not possible to look behind every tree or bush on campus,” said a said a senior guard. “We often find couples of the same age group getting intimate during daytime, but we can only ask for their identity cards as we have minimum powers to frisk or detain them. Also how do we identify a CSW just by her looks?”

Acting vice-chancellor Sanjay Chahande said the involvement of the police in maintaining on-campus security was enhanced after the shooting and CCTV cameras were also being installed. “We have increased police patrolling and have made relevant traffic arrangements. We are in process of installing CCTV cameras. We have already deployed nine guards with weapons and other equipment and any person entering the varsity will need to register their names and numbers,” said Chahande. 

Four days on, cops still grope in dark
Four days after UoP security guard Pralhad Jogdandkar was killed by an unknown person, officials of the Chatushrungi police station and the Crime Branch have made no headway in the case. The unknown man had been caught on campus in a compromising position with a female companion by Jogdandkar and his colleague Bala Nikalje.

“We have issued an appeal for the woman accompanying the assailant to come forward and give us information. Her name will not be disclosed,” Senior Police Inspector Ajay Kadam from the Chatushringi police station said. The incident happened late in the evening near the servant quarters and Jogdandkar had demanded Rs 5,000 from the man to spare him from police action The man paid Rs 500 and left, only to return and ask for Rs 100 back to fill petrol in his two-wheeller. When Jogdandkar refused to part with the Rs 100, the man pulled out a pistol and shot him twice.

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