Taj Mahal closed to tourists after riots in Agra
Police closes the Taj Mahal and placed parts of Agra city after violence in tht city over deaths of four muslim youths.india Updated: Aug 29, 2007 13:34 IST
Police closed the Taj Mahal and placed parts of Agra city under curfew on Wednesday after Muslims burned trucks and battled police to protest the deaths of four community members hit by a lorry.
The accident occurred around dawn in Agra when the men were returning after marking "Shab-e-Barat", or the "night of forgiveness or atonement", when Muslims pray for the dead.
Angry crowds set fire to 11 trucks, including the one involved in the accident, said state police officer Brij Lal.
"With curfew imposed in six police circles of Agra, the area in and around Taj Mahal is also completely shut to public as a precautionary measure," Lal said.
Television footage showed smoke billowing over one neighbourhood, young Muslims clashing with police and a line of trucks burning fiercely.
"They are hurling bricks at police sent to stop the violence in one area but the situation is coming under control as our people are on the job," Lal added.
Schools and colleges were ordered shut in the crowded city as police tried to quell the violence, officials said.
The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Attracting around 20,000 visitors every day, the monument was completed in 1648 after 17 years of construction by 20,000 workers.