VHP activists protest at Taj Mahal, seek removal of gate blocking temple path
ASI was laying down frames for the installation of turnstile gates and door-frame metal detectors at the western entrance of the Taj Mahal when VHP activists arrived, and removed one of the gates.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists took to the streets to protest against the installation of the turnstile gate at the western entrance of the Taj Mahal claiming that it blocked the path to a 400-year old temple. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at Taj Mahal has lodged a case against 30 protestors.
As per a report from Hindustan Times, ASI was laying down frames for the installation of turnstile gates and door-frame metal detectors at the western entrance of the Taj Mahal when VHP activists arrived, shouting slogans. They also removed one of the gates.
Ravi Dubey, a senior office-bearer of the VHP and claiming to be the General Secretary of the 400-year old temple was quoted in the report saying, “The gate being installed is blocking passage to Siddheshwar Mahadev temple at Basai Ghat alongside the western wall of Taj Mahal. The temple is 400 years old and has been in existence prior to Taj Mahal. So there is no logic in blocking passage to the temple.”
Defending his views, he further added, “But ASI officials did not heed to our requests. We dislodged the turnstile gate and will not allow it to be installed at any cost. We will meet the district magistrate on Monday to press our demand.”
The report also quoted Prabhat Kumar, Circle officer – Taj security: “An alternative passage has been made for access to the temple, but protesters insisted on the old passage on which turnstile gates are being placed.”
While ASI officials are yet to release a statement on the issue, a case has been lodged against 30 protestors, including five named persons – Ravi Dubey, Mohit Sharma, Niranjan Pathak, Madan Verma and Gulla – under the sections of Public Property Damage Prevention Act, Criminal Law Amendment Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Station-in-Charge of the Tajgani police station has mentioned that they are searching for the accused.
Photo Courtesy: Hindustan Times