The Goa Raj Bhavan has been closed to the public for the next six months, days after Governor Satya Pal Malik took charge, The Times of India reported on Wednesday. The Raj Bhavan, also called Palacio-de-Cabo in Portuguese, was open to the public on a few days of the week as a chapel on its premises was available for prayers.

An announcement on the website of the Goa Tourism department said it was shut down due to “security reasons”, according to The Indian Express. An unidentified senior official at the Raj Bhavan said the governor qualified for z-plus security as he faced an immediate threat from terrorist groups. Malik served as the governor of Jammu and Kashmir when the Centre scrapped its special status, and split the region into two Union Territories. Malik was sworn in as Goa governor on Sunday.

“We will have timely reviews of the threat perception and take decisions accordingly,” the officer said.

Security was beefed up outside the gates on Tuesday and locals were asked not to stroll near the residence. “They [Raj Bhavan officials] do not want any crowd around or outside the premises as no chances can be taken,” another unidentified official said. “Anyone can walk in as a tourist with any motives.”

The usual 9.30 am Sunday mass at the Raj Bhavan chapel was cancelled on November 3 in what the churchgoers said was the first time in their memory. “Even when LK Advani visited Goa, the mass wasn’t cancelled,” an unidentified local resident told The Times of India. “In fact, he attended the mass.”

The Raj Bhavan, which was the residence of Portugese viceroys during the colonial period, was opened to tourists during former Governor Mridula Sinha’s term.

During his swearing ceremony, Malik had described Jammu and Kashmir as a “very problematic place”. “I have dealt there successfully and handled all issues,” he said, according to PTI. “Jammu and Kashmir is a peaceful and good place now which is on the path of progress. The leadership there is non- controversial. They are doing their work very well, so I feel that I would be spending time here in [a] much peaceful way.” Malik had served as governor during the President’s rule in the region and also gave his approval on the state Assembly’s behalf to abrogate the special status.

Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.