Bajrang Dal women allegedly hold ‘aarti’ in Taj Mahal to protest namaz
A video that went viral here on Saturday showed Rashtriya Bajrang Dal’s (RBD) women’s wing district president and two activists performing ‘aarti’ on Taj Mahal premises. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officials said they were verifying the contents of the video.
District RBD women’s wing president Meena Diwakar said, “We entered the Taj Mahal with ‘dhoop batti’ (incense sticks), Gangajal and match box and performed ‘aarti’ at the mosque on the premises. We ‘purified’ the location as it is our ‘Shiv Temple’, sanctity of which was damaged by ‘namaz’.”
“The identity of the Taj Mahal is because of Tejo Mahalaya, the Shiva Temple. Permission was granted for offering namaz once on Friday but it has been offered on other days too. So we also offered ‘aarti’. We are prepared to face action if those violating the norms by offering ‘namaz’ on week days are punished,” she said.
The ASI and CISF officials were evasive when asked about the incident. There is elaborate checking and frisking at the Taj Mahal gates and certain material, including match boxes, is prohibited.
Ankit Namdev, the ASI conservation assistant at Taj Mahal, said, “We have come to know about the video of ‘aarti’. The details are being verified.”
“The matter is yet to come to me and in case there was such an incident, it would be probed,” said Brij Bhushan, CISF commandant.
City unit president of the Congress Haji Jamiluddin Qureshi has condemned the incident and sought action against those offering ‘aarti’ on Taj premises, as according to him their aim is to dent communal harmony in the city.
As in the past, this Friday too the Taj gates were opened for ‘namaz’, but the number of locals offering prayers increased to more than 900. Earlier, only a few Muslims offered ‘namaz’ on Friday, in compliance with Supreme Court directives.