Mamata Arrives in St. Pauls Cathedral, Prayer Begins


Kolkata:  As the mercury dips bringing in the chill and the air fills up with the aroma of cakes, the city is all decked up for a Christmas weekend. Winter is literally playing hide and seek with Kolkata and Kolkata may miss the chill of winter while celebrating the Christmas on Friday. The midnight prayer of Christians has begun at St. Paul cathedral in Kolkata’s Park Street area on Thursday night.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Co. Derek o Brien and Kolkata police Commisioner Surojit Kar Purokayestho reached at cathedral on the holy eve of Christmas. According to sources, they all are going to participate in the prayer ceremony.

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Security in and around Park Street as well as the sensitive areas in the city has been tightened with additional police postings, a senior officer of the force told. Cops have divided the Park Street area into five zones with each zone coming under the surveillance of an officer of the deputy commissioner rank, he said.

“There will be 11 watch towers as well as 15 police assistance booths to keep a vigil. In fact, shops and showrooms on the Park Street will remain closed from 4 PM on Friday,” the officer said. Over 500 police personnel both men and women would be posted at the Park Street area. Besides, there would be plainclothes policemen posted outside food-joints and the chain of restaurants in that area.

Three Radio Flying Squads (RFS) including one solely comprising women police would be present there. Besides, Additional Heavy Radio Flying Squads and Quick Response Teams would also be on duty along Park Street.

Lalbazar would keep a watch on the activities in the less than two-km long stretch of Park Street and elsewhere in the city via CCTVs. Around 50 new CCTVs would be installed in the area and the footages would be conserved for future reference, he said.

“We have gone through CCTV footages of the crowd behaviour during Christmas in Park Street as well as in the city. “We have studied the details on crowd movement at different time of the day and the type of crimes happening and as per inputs, we have made our security arrangements for December 24 and 25 and on December 31, the officer said.