Sangeet Som says Taj Mahal built by traitors; so was Red Fort, retorts Owaisi

BJP MLA Sangeet Som's controversial remark on Taj Mahal has sparked a fresh controversy over the legacy of 17th century monument

Despite being India’s most famous monument and the seventh Wonder of the World, Taj Mahal seems to be at the receiving end of BJP-ruled state, Uttar Pradesh. Earlier this June, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath said that the ivory-white marble mausoleum didn’t represent “Indian culture”. Later the 17th century monument also went missing from a booklet released recently to mark six months of the BJP government. In the latest tirade against the famous tomb, the controversial BJP lawmaker and Muzaffarnagar riots-accused Sangeet Som described Taj Mahal as a ‘blot’ on Indian culture adding that it was built by those who wanted to ‘wipe out Hindus’.

“Many people were worried that the Taj Mahal was removed from the list of historical places in the UP tourism booklet. What history are we talking about? The creator of the Taj Mahal (Mughal emperor Shah Jahan) imprisoned his own father. He wanted to wipe out Hindus from Hindustan . If this is history, then it is very unfortunate and we will change this history, I guarantee you,” Mr Som said at a rally in Meerut on Sunday.

“Uttar Pradesh government is trying to bring history back on the right track. UP govt is trying to bring back the history of Lord Ram, Shivaji.” the controversial leader added.

The MLA from Sardhana also termed Mughal emperors Babur, Akbar and Aurangzeb as “traitors” and said their names would be removed from the pages of history.

Distancing the party from Som’s comments, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, “That is his individual view. Taj Mahal is an important part of our history. It’s part of incredible India. What happened in history cannot be erased but at least it can be well-written history.”

Som is notorious for making provocative speeches, he is also accused of instigating riots that left over 60 dead and tens of thousands displaced in Muzaffarnagar in 2013.

Meanwhile, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi condemned Som’s comments saying that if the Taj Mahal was built by “traitors” – then the same traitors also built Red Fort. He further went on to challenge PM Modi to stop hoisting the tricolour from the Red fort.

“Traitors” also build Red Fort will Modi stop hoisting Tiranga? Can Modi and Yogi tell domestic and foreign tourist not to visit Taj Mahal?”, he said. Owaisi further questioned whether the government has the guts to ask tourists not to visit the monument.