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Yogi Adityanath in Agra highlights: UP CM committed to tourist safety, says Fatehpur Sikri attackers won't be spared

Adityanath is the first BJP chief minister of Uttar Pradesh to visit the Taj Mahal.

FP Staff October 26, 2017 16:55:54 IST
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Yogi Adityanath in Agra highlights: UP CM committed to tourist safety, says Fatehpur Sikri attackers won't be spared

Highlights

10:51 (ist)

RECAP: From Sangeet Som to Azam Khan, hating the Taj Mahal has been a national obsession across political divide

The Taj Mahal's metamorphosis into a punching bag is complete. Political leaders across the spectrum seem to have participated in a competition to determine who can make the most disparaging comments about the 16th century mausoleum.

With so many comments and so many conspiracy theories about how exactly the Taj Mahal came into being, it's almost impossible to know the actual version of things. But if the Archaeological Survey of India's (ASI) version is to be believed — and it should be, for it is the definitive word on historical monuments in the country — the Taj Mahal is most definitely a tomb and not a temple.

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'We believe in Athithi Devo Bhava for both Indian and foreign tourists'

"We are trying to improve connectivity in Agra and Uttar Pradesh. Indian and foreign tourists are all equal to us as 'atithis', we believe in atithi devo bhava. So we have to take strict action in the Fatehpur Sikri case," says Adityanath.

Amid several controversial remarks made by BJP leaders and ministers regarding the status of the 17th century monument in India's culture, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath reached Agra on Thursday morning.

Adityanath is the first BJP chief minister of Uttar Pradesh to visit the Taj Mahal.

Adityanath wields broom

Yogi Adityanath, along with BJP workers and social activists, took part in a cleanliness drive outside the western gate of Taj Mahal.

Adityanath's schedule today

According to his schedule, Adityanath will stay for half an hour at the graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal and visit the Shah Jahan park nearby. The chief minister will inspect various places along the way, inside and outside the monument.

He will also lay foundation for the development of a tourist pathway from Taj Mahal to Agra Fort. He will also run a mega cleanliness campaign along with 500 BJP activisits and social workers around the west gate of Taj Mahal.

The chief minister has already declared that the state government will spend Rs 370 crore on development plans aimed at promoting tourism in the city of Taj. Along with the visit to Taj Mahal, Adityanath will inaugurate various development projects in Agra, an official spokesman said.

"During his tour of Agra.., the chief minister will be visiting all the places inside Taj Mahal," principal secretary, tourism, Awanish Awasthi said.

Yogi Adityanath in Agra highlights UP CM committed to tourist safety says Fatehpur Sikri attackers wont be spared

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath arrived in Agra on Thursday morning. Twitter/@ANINewsUP

Who said what 

Adityanath's visit to the Taj comes after series of controversies which erupted beginning with the Uttar Pradesh tourism department booklet not mentioning the monument in its list of development projects in the state. Soon after, BJP leader Sangeet Som called the Taj Mahal "a blot on Indian history" and the makers of the monument "traitors." That was just the start.

Reacting to Sangeet Som’s remarks, Yogi Adityanath said it doesn’t matter who built Taj Mahal, but added it built by the "blood and sweat of Indians".

However, addressing a rally in Gorakhpur recently, Yogi Adityanath called Taj Mahal the “pride of India” and referred to it as a “world class monument”. This was a significant departure from his remarks at a rally in Bihar last year, when he had said that the Taj does not represent Indian culture and that visiting foreign dignitaries should be presented with the Gita rather than replicas of Taj Mahal.

BJP leaders, including Vinay Katiyar, Subramanian Swamy and Anil Vij, have weighed in on the matter.

Swamy said Shah Jahan "stole" the Taj Mahal from the king of Jaipur. "There is evidence on record that Shah Jahan forced the Raja-Maharajas of Jaipur to sell the land on which Taj Mahal is standing, and he gave them a compensation of forty villages, which is nothing compared to the property's value," Swamy was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

Katiyar said that Taj Mahal used to be a temple of Lord Shiva before it was captured by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, according to media reports.

In an interview with CNN-News18, when asked about Yogi Adityanath's scheduled visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra, Katiyar refused to call the monument by its name and said, "It is Tejo Mahal. Taj Mahal used to be a temple of Shankar. Shah Jahan then buried his wife there." He added: "Hindu kings had built the Tejo Mahal. It was so famous that Shah Jahan later captured it."

A minister said it could be replaced by the Guru Gorakhnath peeth instead. The minister in charge of religious affairs and culture, Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, said that keeping out the Taj Mahal was necessary because the current government in Uttar Pradesh is "rashtravadi (nationalist)" and runs on "dharm niti (religious policy)."

"Taj Mahal is not the symbol of any religion and (it is) nobody's. It does not represent any religion... On the other hand, Gorakhnath peeth represents people's faith," Chaudhary had further added.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date:

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