The former archaeologist KK Muhammed, who was quoted in this article, has denied having made certain allusions to the Qutb Minar and Taj Mahal during his conversation with Firstpost. He has said: “While I fully agree with what you have stated on my behalf about Ayodhya issue, I totally refute whatever has been attributed to me regarding the well known monuments Taj Mahal and Qutb Minar. I have never said in my book that Taj Mahal and Qutb Minar are built on the ruins of temples. In the book, on pages 104 and 105, I have strongly criticised those who are coming out with such ridiculous arguments. It has been further elaborated by stating that such arguments without any rhyme and reason are against the basic principle of the architectural evolution of the Mughal monuments.
“In fact I had shown courage to demolish part of an extension of a temple which some Hindu extremist groups associated with VHP and Bajrang Dal had made in the proximity of Taj Mahal in 2002-3 while the BJP was in power at the Centre. For this unpardonable act, Hindu extremists had burned my effigy at Purani Mandi in Agra. A few months before this, they had attacked my office and I had a providential escape.
“Similarly I have not said anything about Qutb Minar; that it was built on the ruins of the temples. My statement about Quwatul Islam, in the proximity of Qutb Minar is true and very well-attested by all experts on the subjects. Still, if any doubt persists a casual visit to Quwatul Islam will prove the veracity of the statement. One has to make a clear distinction between Qutb Minar and Quwatul Islam.
“My credibility as an archaeologist has suffered a serious damage due to the purported statement that has been attributed to me with regards to Taj Mahal and Qutb Minar.
“I am neither a spokesperson of Hindu extremists, nor do I contribute to their ideology. But at the same time I strongly feel that the Ayodhya issue could have been resolved amicably if the leftist historians had not interfered on behalf of Muslims with their crusading spirit and pushed them to the point of no return. For any amicable solution, they have to be kept outside the purview of discussions.”
KK Muhammed’s remarks on the Qutb Minar and Taj Mahal are not contained within the book in question. The author only made passing mention of these two monuments during his interview, and on reviewing the recording of our conversation with Muhammed, we found no assertions to the effect that “Qutb Minar and Taj Mahal were built on the debris of Hindu temples”. Firstpost would like to issue an unconditional apology to Muhammed, and its readers for this misrepresentation of facts.