Rashtriya Bajrang Dal activists threatened to organise puja and aarti again on Sunday to protest against the security agency’s failure to stop a Muslim group from offering prayers inside the mosque.
Muslims contend that the SC order merely bars non-locals on Fridays while there is no word on not allowing namaz on other days
The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday told the apex court that it would be difficult to declare Agra a ‘heritage city’, as proposed by the Centre last month.
Petitioner M C Mehta, an environmentalist, told the bench that the green cover in the area has reduced and there were encroachments in and outside the Yamuna flood plains.
The Agra Divisional Commissioner who is also the Chairman of the TTZ will be the officer responsible for maintenance and issues concerning the Zone, while the Joint Secretary will be the one responsible on behalf of the Centre.
During the hearing, the apex court said the Taj Trapzeium Zone Chairman and the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change were responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the world heritage monument.
Supreme Court, which has been monitoring efforts to restore the Taj, noted that the draft vision document on protection of the monument, submitted by the UP government was prepared without consulting the Archeological Survey of India
The Supreme Court directed the center and the UP government to identify specific officers and authority in charge to maintain the Taj Mahal and the redevelopment of the Taj Trapezium Zone.
The draft vision document also mooted promotion of small-scale cottage industries and restricting growth of polluting and private vehicles.
The vision document was submitted after the apex court on July 11 lashed out the state government for its apathy towards the 17th-century monument.
The Supreme Court had last week came down heavily on the Centre and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for not being able to protect the iconic Taj Mahal, issuing a warning it will “shut it down” and the authorities should “demolish or restore” the structure.
Five days after the Supreme Court told the Centre that the Taj Mahal should either be restored or demolished, three Union ministers and the UP chief minister met on Monday to discuss plans to address pollution sources.
The apex court directed the Centre to file an affidavit in two weeks detailing what has been done for the protection of the monument and plans of further action. The bench said it would hear the matter on a day-to-day basis from July 31.
The Supreme Court had earlier this year blamed the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) for its failure to take appropriate steps to protect the monument.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan observed that there were other mosques in Agra, and non-residents could offer prayers there.