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 Post 26/11, Security, Self-defense are Buzzwords in Delhi Schools
From putting up metal detectors to imparting self-defence training to students to mock evacuation drills, schools in the Indian capital are steeling themselves against the threat of terror that could find an easy target in children.

Shaken by the Mumbai terror attack of Nov 26, Delhi 's educational institutions, at least the ones that are privately run, have stepped up security in and around their campuses.

"It is a fact that the Mumbai attacks have revealed how terror can be most appalling when the innocent and weak are targeted, thereby making schools vulnerable and easy targets. So the need of the hour is to be proactive," Vandana Puri, principal of the Salwan Public School in west Delhi , told IANS.

The school has put up a door frame metal detector at the entrance gate and no stranger is being allowed into the school. Teachers and students are also being trained in using fire-fighting equipment.

"Regular mock drills for effective evacuation are being undertaken under the guidance of the fire department. We are training our students and teachers on how to make the best use of resources in case of an emergency," Puri said.

Tagore International, Shri Ram School , Modern School and Mothers International have been regularly carrying out lectures and practical sessions on self-defence techniques that might prove crucial in times of emergency.

The schools say imparting self-defence training to students and teachers is not aimed at creating any fear psychosis but at preparing them to handle any situation not just in school but even outside.

Government schools, where over a million students study, have not taken any extra precautions after the Mumbai terror attack in which over 170 people were killed.

"We do organize some awareness programmes for students in the school as and when we receive a circular from the higher authorities in the education department," the principal of a Kendriya Vidyalaya in south Delhi said. 

But private schools, which have around 700,000 stuents and are high on funds compared to state-run institutions, are not taking a chance.

"We have put up notices in each class on emergency exits and phone numbers. At regular intervals we will call experts to talk about self-defence techniques. We tell students to use common sense to deal with any adverse situation," said Madhulika Sen, principal Tagore International School , Vasant Vihar.

Almost all private schools in the national capital have made identity cards compulsory for parents, with stray visitors not being allowed to enter the campus.

"Identity cards are being made for parents and the entry of other visitors is being controlled or restricted at the main gates," Sen said.

R.P. Mallick, chairman of the Federation of Public Schools, an organisation of over 200 private schools in the capital, said: "I have written a letter to the Delhi government regarding enhancement of security around schools, but I am yet to hear anything.

"Meanwhile, I have asked schools to employ more security guards."

Most parents are satisfied with the tightened security and are cooperating with school managements.

"I am happy that schools are taking such steps. After all, it is necessary for the safety and security of my children. The school doesn't allow me to enter the campus if I forget to carry the identity card issued by the management," said Sangeeta Singh, the mother of a 10-year-old boy studying at Tagore International.
Delhi Public School (DPS) seeks details of CISF security
New Delhi , Feb 20 : Delhi Public School (DPS) R.K. Puram has sought details of the security cover from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to ensure safer environment for its students and teachers.
Rajya Sabha Thursday passed the CISF amendment Bill that allows CISF's deployment for the security of private and joint venture enterprises, depending upon the threat perception.
"We have just asked the CISF about the details of the security they can provide. We have not applied for the security as yet," DPS R.K. Puram principal Shyama Chona told IANS.
At present, DPS is using services of a private security agency. A lot of other schools, hospitals and private establishments have also applied for CISF security.
"We have received requests for security from other schools also. Besides schools, we have received similar requests from hospitals, IT companies and hotels from across the country. But nothing has been finalised as yet," CISF PRO Rohit Katiyar told IANS.
At present, the force's strength is more than 112,000. Nearly 10,000 personnel will be recruited this year itself.
Schools across Delhi have taken several measures for the security of students. GD Goenka School in Dwarka has also taken several measures in this regard.
"The school has been equipped with round the clock CCTV surveillance of the entire campus monitored through a dedicated control room in the school campus. The school gates are manned by trained guards to restrict any unauthorised access to the school premises," said Manoj Singh, a member in the Board of Directors of GD Goenka School Dwarka.
"The school has also been equipped with devices like circuit breakers, smoke detectors, latest firefighting equipment and a trained staff that knows how to use these tools of safety," he added.
--- IANS
Delhi 's initiative to keep children safe

Friday, December 05, 2008 10:02 AM (New Delhi)
In the light of recent terror attacks across India , the Delhi Police wants parents to know that there is absolutely no intelligence input that warns of terror strikes against schools in the capital.

"I do get worried about my children's safety. Especially it is so easy to enter schools like DPS because they are so prestigious," said Ashwini Gurgaonkar, parent of a student.

Ashwini Gurgaonkar has two young children studying in DPS Gurgaon and like many other parents, she is worried about whether schools are a soft target for terrorists. The Delhi Police has denied this but the parents of this school want more action.

And therefore, DPS Gurgaon plans to add a little chip to every student's identity card. When a student boards a school bus, the chip will inform of the student's location.

"If a child boards a bus at the time he is supposed to from the location he is supposed to, then it's all good. But if he does not get on the bus from a given point at the right time, then a message will be sent out to the parents and school authorities about the absence of the child," said Ashish Prasad, director, DPS Gurgaon.

The same chip will also communicate with the school's servers to locate a child within the school's premises.

The Radio frequency id cards will be introduced in March but they cost Rs 3000 and a monthly fee of Rs 250. Next week, parents will meet to indicate whether they're willing to take on the additional expense.

"We already have to pay Rs 4000 rupees in a term per child, but is quite costly for us," said Maya Sharma, parent.

"I am still confused as to how this idea is going to be feasible, but money is not a concern, even if I have to eat bread and butter, I will install it," said Gurgaonkar.

Vasant Kunj Bhatnagar Interntional School may not be among Delhi 's most famous schools, but it is also working overtime to ensure its children are safe. The school has four CCTV cameras already, and now there are 25 guards on duty. Buses are also being carefully monitored.

"After hoax call, parents are expecting us to step up the security measures. So in addition to the teachers on the buses, we also have guards who travel on them to be doubly safe," said Sudhir Kumar, principal, Bhatnagar International School .

Similarly, at Shri Ram School , there are 24-hour guards on patrol. Parents and drivers are not allowed to come into the school to collect children. Instead, teachers escort students out at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, parents have one more request.

"It would also be better to have metal detectors," said Monica Sachdeva, parent.
Times of India : Sunday, April 08, 2007
[ 8 Apr, 2007 0229hrs IST TIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

NEW DELHI : The Jor Bagh Market witnessed a clash involving some students of the Vasant Kunj and Sohna branches of GD Goenka Public School on Friday evening. One group, allegedly carrying a pistol, fled the spot leaving the weapon behind, said the police.

The Lodhi Colony Police Station has registered a case under the Arms Act on the complaint of a Class XII student of Vasant Kunj branch, Mahesh Kumar (the names of all the students have been changed to protect their identities).

Kumar told police that his friend, Abhishek Verma, who was earlier a student at Vasant Kunj branch, had taken a transfer to the Sohna branch in Gurgaon where he was allegedly ragged by Class XII student Santosh Lall and others. Verma complained to Kumar, who said he would take care of the matter.

"After Kumar's intervention, Lall promised he won't rag Verma but Verma was again ragged by Lall and his friends the very next day," said a senior police officer.

Kumar called up Lall once again and the two decided to meet at the Jor Bagh market on Friday evening. "Lall, accompanied by three others, came to the spot near Lodhi Colony where Mahesh Kumar, along with three of his friends, was waiting for them," the officer added.

The meeting soon turned violent and the two groups hurled abuses at each other. According to the complaint filed by Kumar, one of the boys who accompanied Santosh Lall took out a .32 pistol.

"We got scared but the pistol fell from his hand and the four immediately fled from the spot," Kumar said in his complaint.

Later, he along with other friends went to Lodhi Colony police station where a case of Arms Act was registered. The police said so far no one has been arrested and they are verifying Kumar's version. The police have also contacted other students, including the one who was allegedly carrying the pistol.

Lall, however, told Times City that he was not present on the spot and Kumar and his friends had come with the pistol.

When contacted, a spokesperson of G D Goenka School, Major K Sharma, said none of the students involved in the clash were from the school.

However, the police said the complainant and the main accused are studying in the school. Despite repeated efforts, the principal of the school, Devti Chandran, was could not be reached for comment.
Times of India 15 Jul 2008, 0244 hrs IST
Colleges target ragging with CCTVs, patrol
NEW DELHI : If Delhi University has its way, ragging may soon become extinct. Colleges are going all out to stop it — setting up anti-ragging committees, giving out special numbers to students to lodge complaints, distributing booklets on the evils of ragging and sensitising students through the use of posters and lectures. And if that's not enough, the university has also, in association with the Delhi Police, ensured there's mobile patrolling, more pickets and two joint control rooms to monitor the campuses in the first few days of the new academic session. 

Ragging is certainly the target in colleges like LSR and Ramjas, where authorities are planning to distribute booklets on the evils of ragging. This is besides the usual committees that will be set up to monitor student activity from Wednesday onwards, when college re-opens. Of course, if the committees don't seem enough, there's always the CCTVs that some college have put up. Hans Raj has, for the first time, set up four CCTV cameras to ensure that discipline is maintained, while Kirori Mal had already installed cameras last admission season. Said Hans Raj principal, S R Arora, "The measures are only in place to ensure no untoward incidents take place." 

Off campus colleges too seem serious about anti-ragging measures. Said Deen Dayal UpadhyayaCollege principal, S K Garg, "There has been no ragging in our college for almost eight years now. As the students don't get ragged by their seniors, they do not rag their juniors either." Other colleges are preferring to increase awareness than put up strict arrangements. 

Sunil Sondhi, principal, Maharaja Agrasen College, said, "We just make our students understand right on the first day that every person has a dignity that needs to be respected, not only in the first few days but through the three years that they spend in the college." 

The university has also introduced many measures to ensure no ragging incident takes place. The steps, which have been made mandatory for all colleges, include restricted entry to both hostels and colleges, as well as setting up of a formal redressal system where students complaints are to be dealt with immediately. Hostels are to be kept under strict vigil, with the university asking colleges to ensure that regular and sudden inspections are made. 

Colleges have been asked not to allow guests to stay in the hostel in the initial few weeks of reopening of the colleges. 

Sealed complaint boxes will also be put up in colleges so that students can file complaints without revealing their identity.