After Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the Taj Mahal on October 26, RSS’ history wing – Akhil Bhartiya Itihaas Sankalan Samiti – demands that Friday prayers at the Mughal monument be banned. National organization secretary of the RSS body, Dr Balmukund Pandey in a conversation with India Today TV questioned the religious significance of the 17th-century monument. He said,
Taj is a national heritage- why allow Muslims to use it as a religious site? Permission to perform namaz at Agra’s Taj Mahal should be withdrawn.
Dr Pandey went on further to claim that Taj Mahal was actually a Shiva temple built by a Hindu king and that if namaz prayers were to be allowed inside the premises then the authorities should also grant permission to hold Shiva prayers at the site. He said,
There is ample evidence that Taj Mahal was a Shiva Temple constructed by a Hindu King, Taj is not a symbol of love, Emperor Shahjahan married within four months of his queen Mumtaz Mahal’a demise. We are collecting evidence and will soon detail every aspect of it.
He further added,
Our organisation is compiling a list all such monuments which were demolished by the Muslim rulers to construct mausoleums or other buildings.
This comes after members of the right-wing organization Hindu Yuva Vahini were evicted by the security personnel for performing Shiv Chalisaa inside Taj premises earlier this week.
The Uttar Pradesh government was earlier criticised after Taj Mahal was excluded from a tourism promotion brochure. BJP MLA Sangeet Som had defended the state government’s decision to omit the mausoleum saying the monument was a ‘blot on Indian history’ and that it was built by ‘traitors’. BJP MP from Lucknow Vinay Katiyar even claimed that Taj Mahal ‘was known as Tejo Mahal and water used to drip from its ceiling’.
On his visit to the Taj Mahal on October 26, UP CM Yogi Adityanath called Taj Mahal as ‘India’s rare gem’ and said that the state government was committed to its conservation. He also took part in a cleanliness drive at the western gate of Taj Mahal.