Foreign tourists who arrived at the historic Victoria Memorial hall Sunday afternoon were irate after they were denied permission to enter due to the high-profile visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton, who is on a two-day visit to Kolkata, visited the British-era museum Sunday evening. Ahead of her visit, the hall and its surrounding area were virtually turned into an impregnable fortress, with sleuths of central and state agencies accompanied by armed commandos controlling every movement in the area.
"I had come to visit Victoria Memorial Hall. But I was not allowed due to Hillary’s visit. I was not aware of her visit to Victoria. I don’t know when again I will be able to visit this place as I will be leaving the city soon,” said David, an Armenian citizen.
"This is really disgusting we have come a long way from our hotel to see Victoria (Memorial) and now we are not allowed due to the high profile visit. The authorities should make separate arrangements for the normal visitors," said Evelyn, a visitor from Germany
The museum was put under high security and closed to the public from 1 p.m. due to Clinton’s scheduled visit at 5 p.m.
"I hope I could make a trip to Kolkata once again because I have heard alot about Victoria Memorial Hall. I wish to be lucky next time," said Adam, a tourist from the Czech Republic.
During her 15-minute stay at the museum, Clinton was shown an exhibition of paintings of Gaganendranath Tagore, a 19th century Indian painter and cartoonist of the Bengal school and a nephew of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
Founded in 1921, the Victoria Memorial houses a major collection of paintings, sculptures and manuscripts from the British period and is considered the largest repository in India for a visual history of Kolkata.