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Shield for kids on tech campus

Kharagpur, March 4: In the grip of a fear unprecedented in any institute of higher learning anywhere in India, the IIT authorities today issued a circular asking research scholars and employees to keep an eye on their children ' at play or home.

Iqbal Mohammad, a lecturer from Kerala on lien at the prestigious institute, was held yesterday for abusing children on the campus.

IIT registrar D. Gunasekaran said: 'We've issued a circular asking research scholars to see to it that their children are careful about who they associate with. Moreover, professors of various departments have been asked to ensure that the students behave decently.'

The circular was issued on the basis of recommendations made by a disciplinary committee headed by the dean of students' affairs, V.R. Kalvey. Gunasekaran said: 'In a meeting with the wardens of 18 hostels on the campus yesterday, we worked out certain steps to intensify vigil on children so that they remain free from bad company.'

An official said a parent must accompany a child at play on the campus. The parents were also advised to interact with their children and enquire if they received any gift at the end of the day.

'They have also been asked to ensure more company for their children so that they cannot go astray,' the official added.

No research scholar, who comes here for a three-year doctoral study from outside, will be allowed to stay at the Zakir Hussain hostel unless accompanied by families.

Zakir Hussain, where Mohammad lived alone, is the only hostel on the campus where research scholars can live with their families.

'Mohammad, since he is married, should not have been allowed to stay in the hostel without his wife and family,' the registrar added.

His wife and four children in Kerala, Mohammad used to lure little boys to his hostel room offering them chocolates and toys. He is also learnt to have targeted sons of low-level employees of the institute.

Still trying to come to grips with the latest scandal, he added: 'We've not come across such indecent behaviour on the part of a senior research scholar in any of the seven IITs.'

Last year, Ravi Raj, who was doing his MSc from the IIT here, was held for selling MMS clips showing schoolchildren engaged in a sexual act on the Net. Before the oldest IIT in the country could recover from the controversy, came Mohammad's arrest.

The subdivisional judicial magistrate has remanded him in 14 days' jail custody.

The registrar said: 'We are very concerned about what happened on the campus. All possible measures are being been taken to ensure that such things do not recur.'

Superintendent of police Ajoy Nanda tonight said preliminary investigations have revealed that many of Mohammad's victims were lured from outside the campus.

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