Saffron activists perform arti at Taj Mahal

According to police sources, four women workers of Bajarang Dal forced their way into the Taj Mahal premises and offered 'puja' there. PTI file photo

Four days after the Muslims offered 'namaz' (prayer) at the mosque inside the Taj Mahal premises in Agra, about 350 kilometres from here, ignoring objections from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), some women activists of a saffron outfit on Saturday allegedly forced their way into the monument of love and performed 'arti' (a ritual with fire) there triggering a fresh controversy. 

According to police sources, four women workers of Bajarang Dal forced their way into the Taj Mahal premises and offered 'puja' there. ''The women also carried bottles filled with Ganga waters with which they cleaned the place,'' said an official in Agra.

''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 said.

ASI said that 'namaz' could be offered at Taj Mahal on Friday only and that too by the locals as per the directions of the Supreme Court. ''We can not allow namaz on the days other than Friday as is being demanded,'' said an official of the ASI.

The local officials were also surprised when around 800 Muslims turned up to offer 'namaz' at the mosque inside Taj premises on Friday. ''The numbers usually vary between 150 to 200,'' he said.

Sources quoting the local intelligence unit (LIU) said that the numbers swelled after an appeal was made through the social media networks for joining the Friday prayers at Taj. The LIU has predicted this number to increase further.

The saffron outfits considered Taj Mahal as a temple of Lord Shiva.

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Saffron activists perform arti at Taj Mahal

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