09:01 GMT +314 November 2019
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    A Central Industrial Security Force guard stands outside the office of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in New Delhi

    Changing Battlefields: Indian Gov’t Plans to Deploy Security Forces at Central University

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): In a first, India’s Human Resource Development Ministry has officially sought to deploy paramilitary forces at an educational institution. No central university in the country currently has such forces, or even police personnel, permanently stationed on campus.

    A week after Visva-Bharati University in the Indian state of West Bengal asked the central government to permanently deploy Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel on its campus, the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) approached the CISF to deploy a contingent at the university.

    The HRD Ministry is understood to have written to CISF Director General Rajesh Ranjan regarding the request from the university, located in the state’s Birbhum district.

    The letter, according to sources, states that the cost of deployment will be borne by the University out of the grants it receives from the government, Indian news daily The Indian Express has reported.

    Citing recent incidents of confrontation between the university’s administration and students and sanitation staff, Visva-Bharati University’s Vice Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty made the request in a letter to the Union HRD Ministry in October. A copy of the letter was also marked to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

    “In his letter, Chakrabarty said the private security personnel currently employed by the university owe their allegiance to the TMC local bosses and, hence, disobey Visva-Bharati’s security officer with impunity”, the daily reported.

    He reportedly also said that whenever the security guards are pulled up for lapses, the local governing party’s, Trinamool Congress, workers intervene to protect them.

    Earlier this year, in May, university students protested against the price increase of application forms.

    The students held a sit-in protest, preventing faculty members and officials from leaving the university campus. The VC alleged that in such instances, the security guards “remained silent onlookers” and even created enabling conditions for the protesters.

    A few days ago, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. The force was guarding the university’s three gates, and Vice Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar’s bungalow before a protest march by the JNU Students’ Union against a 30-fold hike in the hotel room rent.

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