Students are protesting a move to bring the entire English and Foreign Languages University campus under CCTV surveillance stating that this would be a complete curtailment of freedom and privacy.
The administration, meanwhile, says that the role of the CCTV cameras would be limited and the idea was to create a psychologically positive and inclusive space for students.
Initially, over 11 cameras were installed across the campus and last month, another 13 were put up near the girls’ and boys’ hostels, academic block, library, lamp-posts, reading rooms and all the main gates. Another 50 to 60 will be soon set up across the campus.
“They were saying more than 100 were yet to be set up. This is creating more fear instead of making us feel secure because there is absolutely no privacy. It’s like someone is watching you all the time and this will lead to moral policing again. We are all university students and not kids. This is just to ensure that no girl hangs out with boys, no groups are created to discuss issues on campus, point out the faults with the administration and more. If they are saying security is the reason, then I cannot feel secure with so many cameras watching me all the time. We live on the campus and it’s like home for us. There are already too many guards. I don’t understand the need for so much surveillance,” said a female research scholar at Eflu.
Stressing on the fact that the cameras were not the only way to keep girls safe, another student said, “There was a silly university survey by BA students who went around doing a project and at the end of it they came up with this idea for women’s safety. But will they stop such incidents if there are cameras? Instead of creating this controlled environment, there must be more gender sensitisation.”
Prakash Kona, assistant professor of the English Department and the deputy proctor, however, disagreed and said that the cameras were not meant to instill fear.
“Students’ security is just one reason. The cameras are set up to create a psychologically positive place and they are just illusionary. We need them for background purposes and to keep track of some administration work. Things or incidents will happen even if there are cameras. We want to create a participative climate, despite the cameras. Students need to get used to being in different kinds of environments when they go out,” he said.