The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 22 , 2014
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Tight security for peaceful polls

Elections were held without a hitch in three colleges known for campus violence — Asutosh, Jaipuria (day) and Manindra Chandra — in the third phase of Calcutta University student union polls on Tuesday.

Metro tries to find the key to peaceful polls at the three colleges.

Police presence

About 100 men in uniform and plainclothes took position on each of the campuses long before the first vote was cast.

At Asutosh, where second-year student Souvik Hazra lost one of his eyes after being caught in a pre-poll clash between Trinamul Chhatra Parishad and SFI supporters in 2010, cops from Bhowanipore, Kalighat and Tollygunge police stations remained stationed all day. Forces from the outpost under Hastings police station that guards Vidyasagar Setu were also requisitioned.

Cops from Shyampukur, Jorabagan, Battala and Amherst Street were deployed at Manindra Chandra and Jaipuria colleges. Forces from the eastern suburban division were also engaged to keep vigil.

While DC (south) Murlidhar Sharma inspected the police bandobast at Asutosh, DC (north) Gaurav Sharma visited the two north Calcutta colleges in the afternoon.

The police tracked movements inside and outside all three colleges and dispersed any gathering of more than two persons. Traffic cops on duty near the colleges were asked to remain “extra” alert.

At Asutosh, RAF and the Calcutta police combat force were on stand by. The heavy radio flying squad (HRFS) was on duty at the two north Calcutta colleges.

Outsider ban

At Asutosh, the police sanitised the campus before polling to ensure that no outsiders were hiding inside.

Armed police — baton in hand and revolver in holster — patrolled the five-storey building along with college guards to ensure no one was hiding inside, said principal Dipak Kar. The joint patrol went on from 11.15am to 11.45am.

“Our staff locked up all rooms other than those required for casting votes counting votes. To ensure that no one was hiding on the campus, a thorough search was carried out on each floor along with the police. Only bonafide students were allowed inside,” Kar said.

The polls were conducted from noon to 2pm at Asutosh but gates were closed at 1.45pm. In the north Calcutta colleges, polls were conducted from 1pm to 3pm but students had to enter between noon and 1pm.

In all three colleges. students had to produce their identity cards and fee books to enter the campus.

Video vigil

CCTV surveillance was in place in all three colleges and the poll proceedings were recorded. The footage was constantly monitored by the college security staff.

“We placed several cameras at the entrance and in the adjoining area,” said an official of Asutosh College, where cameras were installed in 2011.

Mobile scan

All students entering Asutosh were asked to switch off their mobiles. They were allowed to switch on their phones only after leaving the campus.

“We enforced this so that no one could pass on a message from outside to the students, inciting them to create chaos after entering the campus or while casting vote. Our staff and the police posted on the campus saw to it that no one violated the instructions,” said principal Kar.

The other two colleges, however, did not place any curb on mobile usage.