‘Restricting garden timings no remedy’

PU students, residents want security up

‘Restricting garden timings no remedy’

Kanupriya, ex-PUCSC president

Naina Mishra

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11

The immediate panacea mulled over by the Vice-Chancellor was to restrict the entry of morning walkers by curbing the timings from 9 am to 5 pm at Panjab University’s Botanical Garden. However, the decision has not gone down well with university residents and students as they feel the authorities have ignored the larger issue.

This is a place of higher education and yet women are unsafe in this institute. Last year also, I came across a girl who had encountered a similar incident in the botanical garden. Rather than beefing up security, the girl was questioned on what she was doing there and who was with her.

— Kanupriya, ex-PUCSC president

Two days after the molestation of a woman journalist at the botanical garden, no security guard was in sight around the garden when this correspondent visited the place where the incident took place. The 16.4-acre dense area, with myriads of shady areas, provoked fear.

The entire stretch of the garden is not walled properly. The broken boundary walls lead to a jungle, from where anti-social elements can easily creep in. A stroll in the garden revealed that there is not even a single CCTV camera in the garden, and even at the entry point. Vani Sood, a former secretary of the Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC), said, “You can’t restrict the timings of any place. There have been many unfortunate incidents of late and we can’t just go on restricting the entry to a particular place where an incident occurs. We need to prevent such assaults on women. I strongly feel there is a need for more security guards, including women personnel.”

A former president of the PUCSC, Kanupriya, who was the first woman to be elected president on the campus, also condemned the authorities for resorting to poor measures. “This is a place of higher education and yet women are unsafe in this institute. Last year also, I came across a girl who had encountered a similar incident in the botanical garden. Rather than beefing up security, the girl was questioned on what she was doing there and who was with her,” said Kanupriya.

Rather than resorting to measures for ensuring women safety, morning walkers have been restricted to come here. The afternoon timings are even more worrisome as there is hardly anyone in the garden.” Disha Gugnani, a third-year student of Bachelor of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, said, “There are many shady areas in the garden. There are hardly any security guards around this area. Rather than restricting the timings, security should be deployed for morning walkers. The incident has triggered panic among us. I can’t think of visiting the garden alone.”

Chandigarh residents have also condemned the decision of the university. RK Garg, an RTI activist, said, “It is a shame on the PU authorities that instead of providing security to women on the campus, they have decided to curtail the timings of the botanical garden.”

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