KOLKATA: Three oldest churches of Kolkata are planning to augment security measures in the wake of the theft at St Paul’s Cathedral.
From increasing the number of security personnel to man the church premises to augmenting the number of CCTV cameras, meetings are being held to look at arrangements that can be immediately implemented.
The theft St Paul’s Cathedral took place in wee hours of Sunday and a number of antique possessions and cash were stolen. The cathedral, which is the head of all churches belonging to the Church of North India, has expressed “deep shock” and “psychological trauma” at “loss of heritage”.
Apart from St Paul’s Cathedral, the other two churches working on beefing up their security are, St John’s Church (1787) and St Andrew’s Church (1815). The former is located on a sprawling premises off Raj Bhavan on Council House Street and its western fringes become quite deserted after sundown, which the church authorities describe as a cause of concern. St John’s Church is the first Anglican church of the city and had served as the cathedral till the time St Paul’s was built in 1814.
“We have a large collection of antique furniture like the chair on which Warren Hastings used to sit, an original Zoffany painting and one of the largest pipe organs in the world among others. Keeping these precious items in mind, we are contemplating of a security beef-up,” said Father Pradip Nanda, priest of St John’s Church.
The St Andrew’s Church authorities felt that all these years they enjoyed the extended protection of their next door neighbour Writers’ Buildings.
“However, it’s being renovated. However, we have our own security personnel, who are our employees. We allow entry of the public only when church officials are present,” said Father Bar, priest of the church.
At St Paul’s Cathedral, items like three brass candle stands, some hanging lights and brass name plates have gone missing. One of the donation boxes has been pried open and the cash was looted. The CCTV footage showed masked men on campus. “We have given police all details. Let them say whether there is any insider hand… we have CCTVs and both private security agencies and guards, who are our own employees,” said a spokesperson.