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Digest this: Bengal cops use school kids for PM's security

Digest this: Bengal cops use school kids for PM's security

Police hired school children from to keep a watch from treetops.

Santiniketan (West Bengal): In a shocking example of how lax security agencies continue to be even after the terror attack on Mumbai that claimed the lives of over 200 people, West Bengal Police used young boys and men for surveillance of the area from tree tops as part of security measure for the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Santiniketan.

Police hired school children from neighbouring villages for Rs 120 to keep a watch from treetops and report any suspicious movements or objects.

All those hired had been issued official security passes by District Intelligence Bureau and were being used for the last three days.

However, all the boys were withdrawn following the intervention of senior officials.

"Security will obviously be enhanced everywhere after the Mumbai attacks. But how that's being done is only known by the departments responsible for it," Amitava Chowdhury, PRO, Visva Bharati, said.

Birbhum Superintendent of Police LN Meena said although the move was thought of because of the large number of trees in the area, the boys were asked to abandon their perch by afternoon after senior police officials objected to the move.

A senior police officer said, "seeking the service of the boys was not part of our strategy."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is the Chancellor of Visva Bharati University, founded by the visionary poet Rabindranath Tagore, visited Santiniketan on Saturday to deliver the convocation address.

Personnel from the SPG, Special Security wing (SSW), State Armed Police and police officers in plainclothes kept vigil at the Amrakunja, the venue of the convocation.

Sniffer dogs were also used and the bomb squad has been sanitising the venue since Friday.

first published:December 06, 2008, 21:27 IST