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Taj Mahal security to be beefed up post 26/11

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
December 15, 2008 20:22 IST
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In the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Mumbai last month, officials of the Archaeological Survey of India and the Central Industrial Security Force met in New Delhi on Monday to review the security arrangements at Taj Mahal, one of the most popular tourist spots in India.

Even though the day-long meeting concluded without a final decision, a broad outline has been drawn up to enhance the security cover of the one of the world's seven wonders.

"A proposal has been made for the deployment of over 100 additional armed jawans to join the existing contingent of 180 men, who are currently deployed on a round-the-clock vigil, in the inner precincts of the monument," revealed a senior official.

He added, "In view of the recent attacks in Mumbai, we were required to take a fresh look at the overall security scenario in and around the monument. After a detailed survey, we felt the need to beef-up the security at the Taj Mahal."

"We will also tighten security measures on those four days each month when the Taj Mahal remains open for visitors throughout the night," he informed.

Six years ago, the entire internal security of the 17th century monument had been entrusted to the CISF, following intelligence inputs about the Taj Mahal being a likely terror target for certain groups.

Until 2002, the security of the monument that attracts millions of tourists from across the world was handled by a private agency chosen by the ASI.

Following a terrorist threat to blow up the monument, the Centre and the state governments jointly decided to entrust the security of the monument to the CISF

As many as 300 personnel of the state's police force remain on guard in the outer periphery, including the three gates of the sprawling monument, around the clock.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow