Lucknow: Members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini and the Rashtra Swabhimaan Dal will be filing public interest litigation in the Supreme Court soon to seek permission for Hindus to recite the Shiva Chalisa in the Taj Mahal.
A group of youngsters led by Yuva Vahini activists, on Monday, were found reciting the Shiv Chalisa on the lawns of the Taj Mahal. The CISF personnel stopped the youth and took them away. The youth were later made to submit an apology and were let off with a warning.
Incidentally, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath is now scheduled to visit Agra and the Taj Mahal, in particular, later this week to inspect the progress of developmental projects.
Talking to reporters, Bharat Goswami, the Aligarh city president of Hindu Yuva Vahini, who led the youngsters into the Taj Mahal on Monday, said that Hindus should be allowed to pray at the Taj Mahal just like Muslims had been allowed to offer prayers every Friday.
“Monday is the day of Lord Shiva and his devotees observe fast on this day. It is only proper that Shiva Chalisa should also be recited on this day and there was nothing wrong in our doing so”, he said.
Deepak Sharma, who belongs to the Rashtra Swabhimaan Dal, said that they had later submitted an apology because the CISDF men told them that reciting Shiva Chalisa was in violation of the Supreme Court orders.
“We had no intention of defying the apex court and we will now file a petition in the Supreme Court to seek permission for Hindus to recite the Shiva Chalisa at the Taj Mahal on Mondays. There should be no problem in this because Muslims are already allowed to offer ‘namaz’ on Fridays,” he said.
A senior CISF official, meanwhile, said that four persons had been caught reciting the Shiva Chalisa in the Taj Mahal premises and were physically removed because this was in violation of rules.
Earlier, the Taj Mahal used to be closed on Mondays for tourists but in 2001, the weekly closing day was changed to Friday and locals were allowed to offer Friday namaaz between 12 pm and 2 pm.
The Gazette notification of January 1, 2001 states that Muslims will be allowed to offer prayers at the Taj mosque on Fridays even though it is closed for visitors.
The incident took place five days after BJP MP Vinay Katiyar had claimed that the Taj Mahal was actually a Shiva temple called ‘Tejomahal’ that had been demolished to build the Taj Mahal.
Earlier, the Yogi Adityanath government had kicked up a major controversy when it dropped the Taj Mahal from the official UP Tourism booklet on tourist destinations in the state.
However, the government later made amends by including the Taj Mahal in the annual Tourism department calendar.
Even before the dust could settle down, BJP MLA Sangeet Som stirred a hornet’s nest when he claimed that the Taj Mahal was a ‘blot on Indian culture’.