AGRA — The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is in charge of security inside the complex, has come under fire for failing to stop a group of women on Saturday from performing ‘puja’ and ‘arti’ after sprinkling Ganga Jal around the monument.
According to media reports, four women workers of Rashtriya Bajrang Dal forced their way into the Taj Mahal premises and offered ‘puja’ there. They also carried bottles filled with Ganga waters with which they cleaned the place.
Again on Sunday, Rashtriya Bajrang Dal activists threatened to conduct ‘puja’ and ‘arti’ inside the Taj Mahal as a protest against the failure of security agencies to stop a Muslim group from offering prayers inside the premises, violating orders of the Supreme Court.
“We have every right to offer puja here (Taj Mahal)….for us it is a temple…the authorities failed to prevent namaz by the Muslims….the monument is getting dirty owing to namaz by so many people,” local Bajarang Dal women wing president Meena Diwakar was quoted as saying by Deccan Herald.
This past Friday, according to the daily, around 800 Muslims had offered Friday prayers at the mosque near Taj Mahal — the number was far more bigger than around 200 Muslims normally offer Friday namaz here.
The Supreme Court has recently allowed only Friday prayers — that too by only local residents.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) pasted the Supreme court directive and notification on the gate of the 17th century Taj Mahal last week.
The original order of the Supreme Court allows local Muslims to offer prayers in the afternoon only on Fridays when the monument is closed to public. But the locals want this bar lifted so that they can offer prayers daily.
ASI officials say security agencies have been told to deal firmly with the violators of the order.
The 17th century monument was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of her wife Mumtaz. However, of late some Hindutva outfits have started claiming that it was built over the debris of temple.
— With Inputs From IANS