Pune Schools turn to ex-servicemen to beef up security

The Maharashtra State School Principals’ Association is putting in a request to the State government seeking periodical security training sessions for school staff and students from ex-servicemen, to have some preparedness in times of exigency, be it a terror attack as it was in the Peshawar Army Public School, or even natural calamities. The association is hoping to tap into the resources of the Sainik Welfare offices in every district for this.

“While our schools have their security systems in place, it has become imperative to have complete preparedness for exigencies that seem imminent these days. We feel our entire staff, not just security people but also the teaching and non-teaching staff and even the students need to be trained in how to react or tackle such situations. Who can do this better that the defence professionals? They come with real-life experience of handling terror as well as other calamities,” Prashant Redij, spokesperson for the association said. “Our letter is all ready. As soon as the winter session of the legislative assembly currently on at Nagpur concludes, we will be sending our request to the State government,” he added.

While the request underscores the panic that has gripped society at large and school administrations in particular, this proposition for self-defence needs a reality check say ex-servicemen. “Periodical training sessions by ex-servicemen is one thing, but that will not suffice. A guest lecture or demonstrations cannot prepare people for the real thing. Private security guards are not soldiers and do not have the necessary expertise. Wisdom would be in taking ex-soldiers on the rolls, which will ensure their presence when the situation arises,” insisted Major Milind Tungar, Deputy Director, Department of Sainik Welfare.

He pointed out that about 9,000 ex-servicemen have been deployed as security professionals through the Maharashtra Ex-Servicemen Corporation (MESCO). “Most of these appointments are in industrial establishments, be it private, central or state government-owned. We find hardly any schools appointing our men. Clearly, machinery is more valuable than human life,” Tungar pointed out.

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