The Telegraph
Friday , October 19 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Student vigil on pandal demons

All decked up and out with your girl gang for an evening of Puja fun, but sleazy taunts spoil your outing. Husband’s Puja gift of a gold chain gets snatched by some youth on a bike. Rowdies ogle and whistle at your pretty wife dressed up in her Ashtami best.

These demons lurk on the streets of Jamshedpur Puja revelry every year. But this time, helping the overworked — and often outnumbered — police force on Puja duty will be 1,000 members of Jharkhand Chhatra Morcha (JCM), the JMM’s student wing.

The JCM on Thursday declared they would depute their members in varying numbers at 286 licensed pandals according to need in a meeting at a Sidhgora-based hall. This is the first time that a students’ outfit has officially thrown its weight to man the pandals.

This comes a day ahead of East Singhbhum SSP Akhilesh Kumar Jha’s list of policemen on Puja duty.

President of the JCM, Pawan Kumar Singh told The Telegraph that they also informed deputy superintendent of law and order Kanhaiyan Upadhyaya and traffic deputy superintendent R.M. Sinha about their decision.

“Incidents of eve-teasing and chain snatching are on the rise. We are reading about them in newspapers and have also seen youths misbehaving at crowded Puja pandals in the past. So we decided to assist law enforcers. As youths ourselves, if we spot people of our age teasing girls, we will try to persuade them to change their ways. If they pay no heed, only then will we call policemen,” said Pawan.

The JCM head added that they had readied special ID cards for their volunteers. Each will have the name, his age and pandal deputed to.

“The student volunteer must wear this ID card while interacting with pandal-hoppers. Most will be deployed in the evening. If the situation gets out of hand, they will call up the police and core committee members through their cellphone,” Pawan added.

While volunteers keep watch on the pandal crowd, JCM’s 15- member core committee will check if they are doing their job well.

“The core committee will make surprise trips to Durga Puja pandals in the evening on all four days of festivity to ensure that members are on duty at specified locations. Pandals will be assigned to volunteers based on where they stay. If they know the area, their job is easier,” Pawan added.

When contacted, DSP traffic Sinha welcomed the JCM’s decision.

“During Puja, the whole city is out on the streets. Plus, there is a huge influx of revellers from nearby suburbs and rural areas. We welcome the decision of students to keep mischief-mongers at bay,” said Sinha.

He added they would step up their drive against rash and drunk driving as well as black tinted car windows.

Will student vigil make women feel safe in pandals? Tell