Hindu outfits stage protest outside iconic Taj Mahal

MAMOSA Report — India’s Hindu outfits are protesting outside the Taj Mahal after fashion models wearing saffron scarves with Hindu symbols were allegedly asked to remove them before entering the country’s most famous monument.

To participate in the Supermodel International Contest, 34 models representing their country have been on a 11-day visit to India, starting April 12.

Built in the 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife Noor Jehan, the World Heritage Site witnesses millions of people flocking to it every year.

The 17th-century architectural masterpiece built in love for the emperor’s wife is located in Agra in the state of UP where BJP recently won elections and appointed firebrand Hindutva leader Yogi as Chief Minister.

On Friday saffron outfits’ workers and supporters entered the premises of the monument, ignoring the Supreme Court orders against protests and marches within 500 meters of the World Heritage structure.

The alleged incident had provoked protest from Hindu outfits Shiv Sena, VHP, Bajrang Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) which said it hurt their religious sentiment.

They demanded action against the personnel who had allegedly asked models visiting the monument to leave their saffron scarves at the gate four days ago.

Refuting the reports of foreign models being asked to remove saffron scarves inscribed with ‘Ram naam’ before entering the Taj Mahal, the Tourism and Culture ministry has said that no official of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) or the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) was involved in the reported incident.

“The CCTV footage related to this incident is in the custody of the CISF and it is evident from the CCTV footage that the lady tourist had been granted entry into the Taj complex, while wearing the saffron scarf with ‘Ram naam’ written on it,” the ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the BJP-led Modi government in New Delhi has ordered a probe into the matter.

The annual Urs of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, begins tomorrow and will continue till Tuesday. A thousand-meter-long ceremonial ‘chadar’ would be offered by Khuddaam-e-Roza committee. Tourism outfits are worried that the controversy may affect the flow of visitors.

The right wing Hindu outfits had yesterday announced “maha gherao” of the iconic structure.

About Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra, UP. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

The tomb is the centerpiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex.

It includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 was approximately 53 billion rupees (US$827 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. Described by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as “the tear-drop on the cheek of time”, it is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year. In 2007, it was declared a winner of the New7Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative. (Wikipedia)

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