The college fests bring with them large and often overly enthusiastic crowds, necessitating tight security measures. DU Beat looks at what the security staff themselves have to say about this.
“Fest ke samay zyada satark rehna padta hai” (we need to be more alert during fests), tells us a security guard at Hindu College, requesting anonymity. Naturally, a larger crowd makes checking more difficult. The gentleman tells us that while they recognise 90% of the regular college students, strict ID checks are the first step before allowing entry to anyone – outsiders or not. The same sentiments are reiterated by a female security guard at Hansraj College, also wishing to remain anonymous.
Mr Damodar Singh, a security guard at Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) tells us that since it is easier for troublemakers to enter colleges during the fests, the security has to exercise extra caution – switching their phones off is the first thing guards do. Talking unnecessarily to anyone has to be avoided, lest some slip in checking may happen.
Colleges make extra arrangements during fests, especially for maintaining order inside the premises. Bouncers are often present around the campuses to control any chaos. Yet, perhaps their effectiveness is up for question.
Mr Singh tells us that bouncers have an important role to play if chaos erupts; security guards can’t get aggressive in controlling the situation as they have to encounter the students regularly. “Hum bas pyaar se samjha sakte hain” (we can only deal with students softly), he remarks. The lady at Hansraj also tells us how guards sit at the gates while bouncers handle the situation inside.
On the other hand, the gentleman at Hindu, says, with a chuckle, “Hungama hota hai to bouncers bhaag lete hain” (the bouncers run away if chaos takes place) – stating that in such cases, the guards themselves need to control the situation.
While the guards admit that some students get rowdy and try jumping on stages during music performances, they don’t really agree to alleged cases of misbehaviour or lapse of security happening at the fests.
Some students allegedly managed to get alcohol and weed inside the barricades during Crossroads 2018. Mr Singh, however, maintains that beedi, cigarettes and alcohol are strictly banned.
As was reported by the Hindustan Times, the crowd stormed the barricades during singer-actor Diljit Dosanjh’s concert at Hansraj’s Confluence 2017. A stampede was caused following a gas leak, accompanied by the felling of a firework station that caused some electric shocks. The security guard at Hansraj, however, denied these claims.
According to an article in the Times of India, similar incidents of crowd rampage and breaking of barricades took place during singer Parmish Verma’s performance at Maitreyi College’s annual fest last year, forcing the gig to be stopped midway.
Regardless of whether the accountability for these incidents is acknowledged, the probability for security lapses remains high. Of course, the management and organisers need to be held accountable. However, with enthusiasm and excitement running high among overwhelming crowds, the responsibility also lies on the students to exercise precaution and alertness and to maintain civility in order to ensure a safer environment.
Featured Image credits: The Times of India