Interview with the Security Officer, Mr. M. R. Chandrasekhar
1) How many security guards watch over the hostels and patrol the vicinity? What shifts do they have?
We have about 13 blocks, such as M block, N block, R block, S block, two major new hostels – one with 900 rooms, the other with 1000 rooms, K block, PD block, and others. So as of now, there are 57 guards along with the recently added 12 more guards; that is, we have 69 security guards posted just for the hostels. Each hostel has one security guard, round the clock, at the entrance. The new hostel blocks [Blocks 1 and 2, above A and B messes, respectively], have 5 guards per shift. That is, 15 guards and 3 supervisors are there. The new hostel blocks, that are the ladies’ hostel and the gents’ hostel, have 2 guards per hostel. Now they have added 2 more. So now it is 3 guards, round the clock, for each hostel block. So totally 69 guards are deployed just for the hostel blocks. I can provide you with the breakup charts also, if required.
2) What qualifications and training do the security guards employed by the institute come with?
Normally for the security guards that we employ through the agency, the minimum qualification we ask for is matriculation. Most of them are either matriculates or high school dropouts. They basically know Hindi because we have a very dominant group from Orissa deployed here. Many of them have been here for the last 4 to 5 years. They are continuing in the Institute service even though there is a change in the agency. About 60 to 70 people are continuing. They are very familiar with the people, students and also the nature of their duties. Since we have about 230 outsourced security guards here in the campus now, we largely depend on them only. At the same time we also have the attrition, about 5% to 10% in some months. However, just as there is attrition, there are also new guards who join. We have a process of training; in-house training. Everyday guards are made to assemble here. We call them for a roll call, brief them and send them to their posts. That is how it works.
What about security training, do they have any security training?
Yes, they are provided basic training at their office. After the training they get a certificate. They are deployed here, at IISc, once they produce the certificate, along with their bio data and a photograph. Once they are here, one of our officers will verify their antecedents and details. Then they put them on duty after asking some basic questions to see whether they are capable of performing the basic security duties.
3) In the light of the recent security lapses, what measures are being taken to ensure that such lapses do not occur again?
As a permanent measure from the infrastructure side, a compound wall is being built on the periphery of the ladies’ hostel. The Director has been very specific and has ordered us to increase the number of security guards too. I’ll elaborate the measures we have taken. From the basement, there is a possibility of some miscreant trying to gain entry. There, we have posted one security guard. The girls who park their cycles make an approach through one of the entrances. Some of these entrances are also closed. The guards have been sensitised about the issue. Whoever comes has to be accompanied by one of the lady security guards present there. Alertness has also increased because we have increased patrolling at night. Unlike before, now one of the supervisors comes and checks whether the ladies guards are on duty. He will make a record of what time he has come and of everything that he has observed. So apart from two lady guards, we now have two male guards also patrolling the ladies hostel. The Director and Associate Director have become very particular now. They have planned to establish a new security control room and we are working on it. One supervisor from the main campus of the Institute is dedicated to the hostels alone. Also, for the night, the erstwhile complaint cell for maintenance office is going to be given to the security. So one security assistant, at the supervisor level, will be available even in the second shifts and night shifts, supervising only the hostels. This will strengthen the security in the area.
That is only with respect to the new girls’ hostel, what about the other girls’ hostels?
No! This man will look after all hostels. It is just that he will sit very close to the girls’ and boys’ hostel. We don’t want him to sit in the girls’ hostel because of the sensitive nature. So a room is given in the new hostel. It is easy for him [to reach any girls’ hostel] in 5 minutes from there. Also, since other girls’ hostels are nearby, he will go inspect there. He is a supervisor, so he need not stay at one place. He will go to every place once in an hour, supervise and then come back to his post.
Is there a helpline to call him?
2033 will be provided to us. 2033 which was earlier the hostel complaint cell will be converted to security. 2400, 2225 these are the numbers to first be called. [These are numbers for the security personnel on campus]. We are the first responders [on being contacted on these two numbers]. We operate 24/7. 2033 hasn’t been provided to us yet.
4) Whenever any complaint is made, how frequently are the police called in to investigate the matter?
Inside the campus, if there are minor and petty issues in the department or in the hostel, police are not called. Where there is a law and order issue, for example, a fight between people, even then, it is not necessary that we have to make a police complaint. For instance, say, two students fight each other. They then go for medical treatment to M.S. Ramaiah hospital. When they tell the cause of the injury that will then become a medico-legal case. So, like that, for any medical emergencies taken there, depending on the recording of the statement of the patient, the hospital sends details to the concerned police station for registration, whether it is suicide, or anything of that nature, injuries, etc. On our own, if we have to, we will make the complaint depending on the nature of the complaint, gravity of the complaint, while also keeping the authorities informed and obtaining their permissions in such cases. But in emergencies, yes, we seek the police help immediately.
5) Do you think that if the police are called in more frequently than they are now, the frequency of crimes would reduce?
Not really! But police patrolling has been intensified in the campus. Hoysala (Bangalore City Police’s mobile patrol) is also coming into the campus for patrolling. But they come mainly to the residential areas. In the hostel areas, it is not that much, it is minimum.
6) There are reports that people from outside park their cars inside campus, near M. S. Ramaiah hospital gate, for example.
No! It is not like that. There are questions similar to this that [we] are asked. It is not that doctors from M. S. Ramaiah come and park. Some of the cars you see parked near that gate which is very close to the M. S. Ramaiah hospital either belong to the Institute. Or take the example
of the CVH [Centenary Visitors’ House]. Somebody comes there, a friend [of someone staying in the CVH]. He will park there, go to the CVH, go out at night for, say, food, come back at the night, at say 10:30-11, and [drive away]. Sometimes, there is a possibility that some are truly outsiders [with no business within the campus]. If they come, we also note down their numbers. If it is an overstay parking, we note down the numbers and we penalize them. We have seen one or two such instances near the SID building; somebody coming through the gate, parking and then walking out. We have found out, after some time, that he is frequently coming at 11 everyday, parking and going out. We eventually found the owner of the car to be one IT company employee.
Otherwise on the campus, no. But we have seen the number of vehicles parked, even at night, has reduced after one broadcast mail which was sent telling the campus that they should keep us informed. Once in a while, we do find that some of the relatives or friends [of the people within the Institute] ask somebody to come and park here for two to three days when they are going out for the weekend or for such other things. If permission is there, we take care of that. We also give permission sometimes, if the case is genuine. If you are staying outside the campus, and you bring the car in and tell us that you will keep it for three to four days, we permit that.