Police remove a body after the murders at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge on December 15. (AFP)
Washington, Dec. 20: As the bodies of two Indian students killed on the Louisiana State University (LSU) campus left Baton Rouge yesterday for their final rest in India, more facts have come to light about the cavalier attitude of LSU authorities towards safety and security on the university premises.
It emerged from LSU spokeswoman Kristine Calongnes media briefings this week that the university had installed security cameras in key areas on the campus in 1997, but a decade was not enough to wire them and put them in working order.
To make the universitys Edward Gay Apartments —where Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma and Kiran Kumar Allam were shot to death last Thursday — more safe for residents, Calongne told reporters that the building will be wired for security cameras this week.
She said wiring various campus buildings for surveillance cameras began in summer this year, but added that the apartment complex where the Indian doctoral students were killed became a priority only after Komma and Allam were murdered.
New 24-hour security and frequent police patrols in the vicinity of the Edward Gay Apartments and other student residences are of little comfort to the families of Komma and Allam.
But the measures, urged by two Indian diplomats in the US, Alok Pandey and K.P. Pillai, will partly set the minds of other Indian students at LSU at rest. Indians are the biggest group of foreign students at LSU, constituting almost 23 per cent. Ninety four per cent of the of 288 residents of Edward Gay Apartments are foreign students.
Although the bodies of Komma and Allam left for India, their fellow students at LSU continue to mourn the two men. At the Edward Gay Apartments, flowers and other tributes overflow two tables kept on the site for students and others to remember the two Indians.
Many students and faculty members have stopped there to write notes in memory of Komma and Allam, according to Indian students at LSU.
The bodies of Komma and Allam are expected to leave New Orleans later today and arrive in Hyderabad on Sunday, according to the present schedule of airline connections.
Meanwhile, an anonymous mourner for the two Indian students has come up with a plan to speed up the investigation into the murders. According to information from the task force investigating the murder, put out through an LSU press release, the anonymous mourner will give $4,000 to anyone providing information about the crime till midnight on Christmas eve.
This is in addition to a $1,000 reward without any time frame, already available to informants.
Don Kelly, spokesman for the Baton Rouge police, said the task force had received several tips from the public since sketch profiles of two suspects were released on Monday.
The additional reward may have been prompted by a belief within the task force that there are people out there who know more about the crime, but are reluctant for some reason to call the police.
Kelly assured potential informants that their identities would be kept secret if they cooperate with the police.