At Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), retired personnel of the Indian army will now provide security services.
According a report by News18, the administration has appointed Army Welfare Placement Organisation (AWPO) to guard the campus. The organisation was set up in May 1999 by the Indian Army to help ex-servicemen find jobs post retirement.
The decision, the report says, has lead to anxiety among over 400 security guards who are currently deployed on the campus that they may lose their jobs.
The security guards, according to the report, are being managed by a private security organisation called G4S. But the contract with the organisation expired three years ago after which the JNU administration floated tenders to replace G4S. When no private organisation signed up, the administration approached the defense services and finally appointed AWPO.
Security on JNU campus
Security has been repeatedly strengthened at the university ever since 2016 when student activists including Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid were briefly arrested for allegedly raising anti-India slogans.
A year later, in 2017, the fund allocated for security was four times more than that allocated for library services. According to the university’s annual report, Rs 17.38 crore were spent on security as opposed to Rs 4.18 crore on library.
The report angered JNU’s teachers’ association who, according to the Hindu, said: “The increase in the absolute amount spent extra on security is Rs 6,33,99,965 on an average in the last [few] years, which is 6.7 times more than the amount reduced for library books and e-journals.”
Similarly, this year in March, security was beefed up yet again in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack on the request of the JNU’s student union, the Hindustan Times reported. As a result, outsiders were not allowed inside the campus unless a student or teacher personally received them on the main gate.
However, the students, according to the paper, expressed displeasure with the move calling it “unnecessary”.
“No other university has increased campus security in Delhi. This will only add to the wrong perception people have about JNU and its students. We are already disturbed by how people were seen raising anti-JNU slogans during protests organised in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack,” an M.Phil student told the Hindustan Times.
In present case, the security guards say that the administration should have informed them before making the announcement of deploying ex-servicemen for security on the campus.
“There are approximately 400 security guards here. Earlier, even if the tender went to some other company, the guards continued – they could join with a new contract. But now we are anxious that with the ex-servicemen outfit set to take over from G4S, we may not have a chance to continue. The administration should have thought about us and issued a notification about this new contract six months in advance so that the guards could have planned ahead,” one of the guards told News18.
Featured image credit: PTI