Agra: Taj Mahal – the world famous iconic monument of love – is at the centre of a fresh controversy, and this time, a fight has erupted between the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and right-wing outfits.
A Times of India report said on Friday that a controversy erupted after CISF officials barred the contestants from several countries participating in a super model contest from visiting the ‘Taj Mahal’ wearing scarves bearing Hindu religious symbols and words like ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
Right-wing organisations including Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) said that the religious sentiments of Hindus were hurt with the incident.
Members of HJM had on Thursday protested outside the office of the Archaeological Survey of India office at Mall Road in Agra.
The ASI and the CISF later said that they only acted as per rules and the controversy was uncalled for.
At least 34 foreign models, who are in India to participate in the Supermodel International Contest being held in Delhi from April 12-22, had visited the Taj Mahal with some of them covering their heads with saffron scarves to protect themselves from the heat.
When they were about to enter the monument, they were asked by the CISF personnel to remove those scarves.
Bhuvan Vikrama, senior ASI official, has written a letter to the CISF asking it ”to explain what transpired”.
Vikrama, however, cited rules and said under Section 8 (d) of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Rules, 1959, tourists are generally stopped from carrying such objects.
Brij Bhushan, commandant, CISF, said, “ASI through an order has stated that all sorts of religious symbols are banned from being taken inside a protected monument. Our intention is not to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments”.
Reacting to the controversy, Brij Bhushan, commandant, CISF, also said that the models were also carrying flags of their nations and items promoting brands, which too were not allowed inside.