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Camera plays college cop

Clashes revisited Harimohan Ghose College in Garden Reach on Friday, not between rivals this time but among Trinamul supporters.

Two supporters of the Trinamul student wing fought during distribution of nomination forms for union elections, which was held under tight security following the death of sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury last February when campus unrest spilled on to the streets.

BCom students Guddu and Shahenshah scuffled over who would pick up a form, prompting the police to detain them.

“We didn’t want the situation to escalate. No other disturbance was reported,” said a sub-inspector on duty.

Candidates for the 32 seats picked up 114 forms, the overwhelming majority belonging to Trinamul Chhatra Parishad. Supporters of the Congress wing, Chhatra Parishad, took a handful. The nomination forms were issued till 1.30pm.

Four CCTV cameras were installed on the campus as part of the unprecedented security arrangement.

The chamber of a cardiologist adjacent to the college on Paharpur Road was converted into a makeshift monitoring room where police personnel scanned live video footage from the cameras. Footage recorded between 10am and 2pm will be preserved.

Similar arrangements are being planned when nominations will be filed on January 9 and on election day (January 16).

“We had two cameras at the entrance and another pair in the corridor leading to the college building. This allowed us to keep track of each and every movement. If needed, the preserved footage would have helped us identify offenders,” said a police officer.

The police had to initially rely on footage of private TV channels to track down the alleged shooter of officer Chowdhury last year.

Besides cameras, armed police were deployed inside and outside the college. “Heavy police deployment ensured a peaceful distribution of nomination forms,” said teacher-in-charge Bijay Acharya.

Sources said no political heavyweight was present at the college on Friday.

Last year, borough XV chairman Mohammad “Munna” Iqbal of the Trinamul was active outside the campus on the day nomination forms were distributed. He was behind bars for his alleged role in the police officer’s murder.