May 29, 2024

Qazi Mizan: A tourist from West Bengal was stopped from offering prayers in the courtyard of the iconic Taj Mahal here recently. But Hindutva exponents have created a controversy and demanded strict action against the ‘çulprit.’

Police said the incident took place on Saturday when Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officials on duty saw a tourist spreading a mat to offer prayers in the complex.

Senior conservation assistant at the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Prince Vajpayee said a video surfaced on Thursday confirming that the tourist was stopped while preparing to offer prayers.

CISF personnel immediately intervened and the tourist was taken to the control room where he claimed he was unaware that praying was banned in the complex.

Security forces let go of the tourist only after he submitted a written apology.

Prince Vajpayee clarified that the tourist was stopped before he could offer prayers.

However, Hindu Mahasabha members staged a protest outside the Taj Mahal demanding the arrest of the West Bengal tourist. The protestors wanted to enter the complex but were not allowed.

Hindutva Watch, a research initiative to monitor reports of attacks on members of religious minorities in the country, posted a video on X (formerly Twitter) showing the Hindu Mahasabha protestors calling for the arrest of the tourist.

The Hindu Mahasabha members claimed that the Muslim tourist was allowed to offer prayers. They said they should also be allowed to enter the complex and offer pooja.

ASI Agra Circle Rajkumar Patel was then quoted as saying that even on Fridays, only residents of Tajganj area, where the tomb is located, are allowed to enter at 12 noon. Prayers are allowed between 1 to 2 P.M

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