Kolkata: An armed squad of over 90 CISF personnel on Monday took over the security of the historic Victoria Memorial here with a mandate to guard it against any terror strike and theft.
The Union Home Ministry recently approved the deployment of a total of 111 Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel for the facility, of whom 92 took charge under the command of a Deputy Commandant-rank officer today.
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi officiated as the chief guest at the induction event held at the lawns of the memorial.
The deployment of the central paramilitary at the 1921-established facility was mandated by the Supreme Court in February, 2015 after a PIL urging strengthening of its security was filed before it.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the backdrop of the theft of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel medallion from Visva Bharati and a fifth century Buddha bust from the Indian Museum.
“Being a monument of a great historical importance and housing a museum inside the main building, the Victoria Memorial is under constant threat from anti-social elements as it is susceptible to theft and damage of artifacts, damage to building, monuments, sculpture among others and terrorist activities.
“In addition to the access control, the CISF will provide round-the-clock armed security cover to the museum,” CISF spokesperson Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Hemendra Singh said in a statement in Delhi.
The monument, made of white marble, functions as an autonomous organisation under the Union Culture Ministry.
“It is an institution of national importance. It is also a museum with a vast collection of rare and extremely valuable artifacts. Thousands of visitors visit the memorial each day,” Singh said.
A special vehicle-borne quick-reaction teams of commandos will also be stationed at vantage points in case of an attack or sabotage-like activity at the facility.
With this induction, the CISF now has a total of 341 units, both in government and non-government domain, under its security cover across the country.