Uttar Pradesh: Taj Mahal in trouble post ‘Aarti vs Namaz’ politics

Agra: Rashtriya Bajrang Dal’s (RBD) women wing activists on Sunday performed ‘aarti’ and sprinkled ‘Gangajal’ in the Taj Mahal in protest against alleged violation of the Archeological Survey of India’s (ASI) norms, which, among other things, restrict the offering of ‘namaz’ or prayer inside the premises of the UNESCO World Heritage Site on Fridays.

Speaking to ANI, Meen Diwakar, the district president of RBD’s women wing, said that her organisation would continue performing ‘aarti’ and purifying the Taj Mahal with Gangajal so long as the norms of ASI are flouted by others. She further stated that the administrative authorities could not stop them.

“The authorities need to stop them first, and then they can stop us,” Diwakar said. “Today we performed ‘pooja’ in our Tejo Mahal, sprinkled Gangajal to purify it. Some people had made it impure by offering ‘namaz.’ They have Fridays for that purpose. That is why we performed ‘aarti,” Diwakar said.

The RBD activist said that authorities have warned them of legal consequences. “That is good. There is no problem with that. If they can take their Qurans and offer ‘namaz’ inside the historical premises, why can’t we take our ‘pooja’ materials inside? We went there in a peaceful manner. If the authorities think we have done something wrong, we will face the action. But first, they have to charge them too,” she said.

Meanwhile, RBD’s Agra unit president Govind Parashar has called upon the local authorities and the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the ‘pooja’ offered inside the Taj Mahal and ensure a thorough investigation into the security lapses. “What needs to be investigated is the number of security lapses. They need to investigate how they entered the Taj Mahal with matchsticks and all? How did the security personnel let them in? We will also speak with them and would try to find out why they entered the Taj premises without consent from us,” Parashar said.

He added that such a situation would not have arisen if the authorities had punished those who flouted the ASI directives. “Lakhs of rupees are spent on the security, despite which some people are going there for offering ‘namaz,’ while some others are going to perform ‘pooja.’ They should suspend the security team. Authorities and the Supreme Court need to take cognizance of the matter and take action against the guilty,” Parashar said.

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