ASI published pics of 22 underground Taj Mahal cells before HC Order

The news letter was issued before the court order in January.

AgenciesUpdated: Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 12:03 AM IST
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ASI published pics of 22 underground Taj Mahal cells before HC Order | Photo: AFP

Days after the Allahabad High Court dismissed a plea seeking a “fact-finding inquiry" into the history of the Taj Mahal and the “opening of 22 rooms" — claiming it was Tejo Mahalya, a newsletter issued by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had released pictures of the restoration work done inside the cells. The news letter was issued before the court order in January.

“The work of maintenance of underground cells on the river side was taken up. Decayed and disintegrated lime plaster was removed and replaced by laying of lime plaster and traditional lime processing before application," the newsletter states under section Structural Conservation.

On May 12, the Lucknow bench of justices DK Upadhyay and Subhash Vidyarthi had rapped lawyer of petitioner Rajneesh Singh, who is the media in-charge of the BJP’s Ayodhya unit, for filing the PIL in a “casual” manner. The court dismissed the plea, stating the petitioner had failed to point out as to which of his legal or constitutional rights were being infringed.

Singh had sought a fact-finding inquiry into the history of Taj Mahal while making contentions of likely evidence of ancient Hindu idols on its premises. He even sought opening of doors of the ‘22 underground rooms’ to see ‘the truth, whatever it is’.

Ahead of the court’s order, top ASI officials had said it was unlikely for the petition to be fruitful as records scrutinised over the years and restoration work done three months ago had failed to hint at presence of idols.

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