Students from Arunachal Pradesh lodged a complaint against the ticketing staff of Taj Mahal on Sunday alleging that they were harassed and asked to prove their nationality in order to buy entry tickets as Indians.
Students of Central Agricultural University, College of Horticulture and Forestry, Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh were at the iconic monument on Sunday afternoon when the incident occurred.
The students later lodged a complaint alleging that they were discriminated against due to their facial features while other Indians were not asked to prove their nationality. The students claimed that though they furnished identity cards proving they were Indians, they were cross-questioned which prompted them to complain.
Indian nationals are charged Rs. 40 for entry to the Taj while foreigners have to pay Rs. 1000 and those from BIMSTEC nations have to shell out Rs. 530.
Officer of the Archaeological Survey of India at Taj Mahal however stated that tourists were asked to prove their nationality to ensure that appropriate tickets were purchased. According to the ASI official, the task had been outsourced but ASI observers were present to check the tickets.
“Nationality was not mentioned on the ID proof provided by the college and there are foreign students studying in various central universities. So proper verification was required and when sufficient evidence was provided, these students were allowed entry to Taj Mahal as Indians,” said the official.
Senior official of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at Taj Mahal clarified that the CISF staff was not involved in the incident and the students had complaint against e-ticketing staff at entrance gates seeking action against them.