Taj Mahal has no place in Indian history, its creator wanted to wipe out Hindus: BJP MLA Sangeet Som
BJP MLA Sangeet Som ‘s remarks come days after the Taj Mahal wasn’t mentioned in a Uttar Pradesh tourism booklet and received no fresh funds in the state budget.india Updated: Oct 16, 2017 15:42 IST
The Taj Mahal was built by someone who wanted to wipe out Hindus, controversial BJP MLA Sangeet Som has said, adding to a raging row over the iconic monument that draws crores of rupees in annual revenue.
Som, the MLA from Sardhana in western Uttar Pradesh, was speaking at a gathering in Meerut on Sunday. His remarks come days after the Taj Mahal, considered one of the seven wonders of the world, wasn’t mentioned in a Uttar Pradesh tourism booklet and received no fresh funds in the state budget.
“Many people were disappointed when Taj Mahal was removed from Indian history. What history are you talking about? The creator of the Taj Mahal (Mughal emperor Shah Jahan) imprisoned his own father. He wanted to wipe out Hindus from Hindustan,” Som is heard telling a crowd in videos. Shah Jahan never imprisoned his father Jehangir. It was Shah Jahan’s son, the sixth Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who placed him under house arrest at Agra Fort.
“It’s unfortunate if we have such people in our history. I can guarantee that history will be changed,” he added. “Uttar Pradesh government is trying to bring the history back on the right track. UP govt is trying to bring back the history of Lord Ram, Shivaji.”
BJP's Sangeet Som says,'Many were sad when Taj Mahal was removed from historical places.What history? Its creator wanted to wipe out Hindus' pic.twitter.com/5OcpJwC4d7— ANI (@ANI) October 16, 2017
The Taj Mahal is India’s top tourism destination but has received a barrage of negative comments from top BJP leaders, including chief minister Yogi Adityanath – who in June said the ivory-white marble mausoleum didn’t represent “Indian culture”. The 17th century structure has also seen a steady decline in footfall in recent years and is battling mounting pollution.
This is not the first time the firebrand MLA has courted controversy for his provocative statements. He was earlier accused of making inflammatory remarks during the 2013 Muzzafarnagar riots but was recently cleared of all charges by a special investigation team. In the run up to the state elections earlier this year, he was also charged with instigating communal hatred after his supporters screened a documentary that allegedly polarised voters.
His recent comments have attracted strong reactions from social media users.
They will try to divert u to Taj Mahal, u keep asking them questions about health, education, dampening economy & unemployment 📉— Nitin Chavan (@a20nitin) October 16, 2017
India is known in the tourist world for the Taj Mahal. One had better not bite the hand that feeds Mr. Sangeet Som— Anuja (@AnjaSpeak) October 16, 2017
There's so much else to discuss and yet the agenda for the day is Taj Mahal and you'll hear the words Hindu Muslim on national TV all day— Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay) October 16, 2017
Sangeet Som's attempt to politicise Taj Mahal is a shoddy attempt to further radicalise an already polarised political narrative.— Kartikeya Sharma (@kartikeya_1975) October 16, 2017