The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) took over security for the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata on Monday, with an initial strength of 92 personnel against the total sanctioned strength of 111.
The Victoria Memorial, a museum with a vast collection of rare and valuable artifacts, is an autonomous organisation under the administrative control of the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India. It is an institution of national importance, and thousands visit the memorial each day.
In 2004, soon after the theft of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel medallion from Visva-Bharati and a fifth-century Buddha bust from Indian Museum, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court, questioning security lapses at Victoria Memorial and Indian Museum. On February 15, 2015, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to strengthen security and deploy CISF personnel at the Victoria Memorial.
“Being a monument of great historical importance and housing a museum inside the main building, Victoria Memorial is under constant threat from anti-social elements as it is susceptible to theft of artifacts, damage to artifacts, the building, monuments and sculptures as well as terrorist activities… the CISF will provide round-the-clock security cover to the Museum,” said a press release issued by the CISF.
The unit at Victoria Memorial is headed by a Deputy Commandant-rank officer.