|Theft at Taj Mahal, close
circuit TV cameras go missing
May 16: For most of the world,
a visit to the Taj Mahal is a passage to India. And to reach this gem of
architecture, tourists have to go through three layers of security and
But not any more. Fifteen
of the security cameras watching the Taj have recently been stolen, posing
a major threat to the 17th century monument, at a time when India is on
high terror alert.
The news has angered the
The CISF was asked to coordinate
the security arrangements at the Taj Mahal following terrorist threat to
blow up the monument last year.
Taj Mahal is under a three-pronged
security set-up. The local administration and the Uttar Pradesh Police
protect the outer area known as the green sphere, the personnel of the
Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) man the yellow bracket, which is the
intermediate tier and the third and the important red tier is managed by
the Archeological Survey of India and the CISF personnel.
The security agencies had
placed Close Circuit Camera television (CCTV) inside Taj Mahal to keep
a vigil over tourist activities and also on mischief-makers.
No sooner than the theft
of these CCTV cameras became known panic gripped the CISF officials and
the maintenance department of Taj Mahal.
"Taj Mahal's security is
a very sensitive matter. Due to the importance of Taj, the CISF is posted
here. The government has provided CCTV cameras for the protection. But
we came to know that 15 cameras have been stolen and only 19 cameras are
in place," said Rajiv Tiwari, President of the Agra Tourism Federation
"If the CISF can't take care
of the CCTV cameras, how will they take care of the Taj. We are taking
this very seriously. We have the right to know as to how and why these
cameras have disappeared," he added.
People feel that the CISF
has not been taking adequate precautions.
"It looks CISF is doing nothing
for security. Only thing they do is to check people at the entry gate of
Taj Mahal. Vehicles are parked in the non-parking area inside the premises
of Taj Mahal. The officials come in their cars till the gate of Taj Mahal.
The passes to enter in the 500 meters range of Taj Mahal was provided to
the residents of the local area. But the officials also have the same passes
and they park their cars in the premises of Taj," said K. D. Sharma, a
Supreme Court advocate, responsible for briefs relating to the Taj Mahal.
"With security like this
a person can bring in explosives inside the premises by dodging the police
and CISF. The only thing that the police and the CISF do is to harass and
exploit the shopkeepers near Taj," he added.
A high level inquiry is being
"Nobody has informed me that
15 CCTV cameras got stolen from Taj Mahal. " said an official from Archeological
Survey of India .
CISF is currently providing
security to the critical infrastructures as well as all major centres of
economic growth of India. It is also responsibile to protect the national
assets and highly vital and sensitive installations which are exceedingly
critical from national security point of view.
Built under Mughal Emperor
Shah Jahan in the fond memory of his belovd wife Mumtaz, the Taj Mahal
famously known as a monument of love and is located in Agra.
It is considered the finest
example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian,
Turkish, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles.
In 1983, the Taj Mahal became
a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as "the jewel of Islamic art
in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's
While the white domed marble
and tile mausoleum Taj Mahal is an integrated symmetric complex of structures
that was completed around 1648. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri is generally considered
as the principal designer of Taj Mahal. Brajesh Singh.