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Visva watch on holi-gans

Santiniketan, March 4: Visva-Bharati will install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras on the campus to monitor crowds during Basantotsav, its annual festival of colours.

Officials said the decision was taken after several girl students complained of harassment by outsiders during the festival, which will be held on March 16 this year.

The police said the number of personnel during the one-day festival would be increased from 150 to 200 this year.

Visva-Bharati registrar D. Gunasekaran held a meeting today with Bolpur sub-divisional officer Moloy Haldar, sub-divisional police officer S.P. Yadav and senior varsity officials to decide on security during the festival.

“It was decided that CCTV cameras would be installed during Basantotsav for better crowd management. The police will monitor the footage and prevent any mischief,” Yadav said.

The police officer added that six cameras would be installed at strategic points in the core ashram area. Another meeting will be held by the weekend to decide on the total number of CCTV cameras to be installed on the campus.

CCTV cameras were installed by the varsity during last year’s Pous Mela, too.

Basantotsav was started by Rabindranath Tagore in 1920. The festival of colours attracts many tourists from Calcutta and elsewhere in the country and abroad.

The joint secretary of the Karmi Mandali, Sougata Samanta, said there had been several cases of unruly behaviour by outsiders during Basantotsav in the past few years.

“Most girl students and women who come from faraway places do not lodge police complaints because of the festive mood but tell us instead,” Samanta said.

Some girl students The Telegraph spoke to said crowd management during Basantotsav was minimal.

“Youths who don’t study in the university wait at various corners of the campus and harass girls after the main cultural programme is over and the crowd moves in a procession to the core ashram area where there are many trees,” said a third-year girl student of Sangeet Bhavana.