Following the violent attack by the masked men in the Jawaharlal Nehru University on Sunday, a new Right to Information reply reveals that the university administration employed fewer security guards in comparison with the previously employed company; whereas, the amount spent on making security arrangements had increased significantly. The query was filed by former JNU Students Union President N Sai Balaji. The reply by the university administration stated that it awarded the contract to Cyclops Security and Allied Services Private Limited and Army Welfare Placement Organisation to provide 250 security guards. However, the initial tender demanded a fleet of 400 security personnel.
The Tender dated January 1, 2019, read, “In order to provide the security services of Ex-Servicemen Security Guards (Unarmed) in JNU Campus located at New Delhi round the clock in three shifts with 400 personnel, the contract will be initially for two years.” The contract also maintained that the company was paid Rs 46,613 per guard. It was earlier questioned by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association. In its memorandum to High Powered Committee, the association had said, “The University is weighed down by wasteful, non-academic expenditure—a 250% increase in spending on security despite the fact that the quality of security stands compromised.”
Talking to Newsclick, Balaji said, “The university was paying Rs 35,000 per guard to the company providing guards and the number of guards was higher. Now, around Rs 50,000 per guard is being paid to the company providing the security and the number of guards has gone down. This is like compromising the security of the campus. For manning such a huge campus, you need more people. This is the issue we have been raising from day one. JNU VC gave tender to the company of his choice. The company who got the tender doesn’t have any experience in providing security to the academic spaces. JNU VC planned for this situation through awarding of this tender.”
The students who have been agitating against the fee hike for the last 70 days alleged that the guards could not protect them from the attackers on Sunday. An occupant of the Sabarmati Hostel had told NewsClick that even the deployed guards were hardly bothered about their security when attackers ran riot in the premier university for almost two hours. But the whole story does not end here.
The newly revealed message exchanges between the JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh and Station House Officer Vasant Vihar and Special Commissioner Anand Mohan suggest that the police had been informed that a large number of masked men had entered the campus at 3 pm in the afternoon. However, the police officials did not respond to the complaints. A WhatsApp message by Ghosh read, “This is to bring to your notice, large number of students have gathered with weapons and sticks at the administrative block, near the statue which is within 100 meters and are beating up students of the university. We request you to urgently take immediate action to remove these students and take immediate action for violating the Honourable High Court Order of Delhi High Court.”
NewsClick tried contacting Delhi Police officials, but was met with no response.