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The Indian Museum its old self with a change in visible firearms

Nothing to remind visitors of the August 6 incident when a CISF jawan shot dead a colleague and injured another

Debraj Mitra, Monalisa Chaudhuri | Published 22.08.22, 06:02 AM
A CISF jawan at the main gate of the Indian Museum on Sunday.

A CISF jawan at the main gate of the Indian Museum on Sunday.

Pictures by Gautam Bose

The Indian Museum looked its usual busy self on Sunday, a fortnight after a CISF jawan shot dead a colleague and injured another inside the Jawaharlal Nehru Road compound near Park Street. 

When The Telegraph visited the museum on Sunday afternoon, there was nothing that could remind one of the August 6 shooting. There was one visible difference, though — arms were not visible on the CISF jawans at the main entrance to the museum on Jawaharlal Nehru Road. 

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But the jawans elsewhere on the premises were on duty with their pistols and rifles visible. Earlier, visitors could see arms on the CISF personnel at the main entrance, too. 

The museum authorities had in the wake of the shooting “verbally suggested” to the CISF that jawans posted in the areas accessed by visitors be without firearms. The suggestion followed what officials said was a “feeling of insecurity” among museum staff after the firing. 

Arijit Dutta Choudhury, director of the museum, said he was not aware of any change in the arms policy of the CISF contingent at the museum. “We had only made a verbal suggestion. The senior authorities of the CISF are best placed to take the final call,” he said.

A senior CISF officer said he was not aware of any “revision in the gun policy” of the contingent at the Indian Museum. “A jawan might look unarmed but he might still be carrying a gun. A visitor is not supposed to know where the gun is. We are doing what we need to do,” he said.

CISF head constable Akshay Kumar Mishra had on August 6 evening allegedly gunned down a colleague and injured another in the museum compound. He was remanded in judicial custody till September 3 on Sunday. Mishra had been in police remand since August 6.

The public prosecutor said the police’s prayer for a 14-day judicial remand was accepted. At the same time, the court also accepted the prayer for carrying out the test identification parade of the accused in judicial custody.

 

Visitors inside the Indian Museum on Sunday

Visitors inside the Indian Museum on Sunday

Around 1.30 pm on Sunday, the ticket counter of the museum had a small queue.

The jawan at the gate did not have a gun. Two jawans were stationed at the metal detector at the entrance. One was sitting with a walkie-talkie and another was frisking visitors. Neither had a gun.

However, a few metres ahead, a CISF man who walked past the archaeology gallery on the ground floor had a pistol in a holster.

The road leading to the Asutosh Centenary Hall and the CISF barracks, the spot of the shooting, has been out of bounds for visitors since the August 6 firing. 

On August 7, when The Telegraph visited the museum, each person was stopped at the gate before the canteen, which falls on the way towards the barracks. “Please have your meal and come back. Don’t go beyond the canteen,” a jawan at the gate was telling each visitor headed to the eatery.

On Sunday, a CISF man at a metal detector at the gate leading to the Asutosh Centenary Hall had a rifle. But a strict vigil was missing.  

The galleries were crowded. Around 2.30 pm, the zoological gallery for mammals was one of the busiest. A bunch of visitors posed in front of a gigantic lower jaw of a blue whale.

Last updated on 22.08.22, 01:37 PM
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