After four members of the Hindutva outfit Hindu Jagran Manch were arrested for waving saffron flags inside the Taj Mahal complex on Monday afternoon, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has sought a report from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on the incident that has been categorised as a security breach.
In October last year, a few days after the Taj Mahal reopened after remaining shut for six months due to the pandemic, members of the same outfit had hoisted a saffron flag on the premises and uploaded a video of the act. The CISF had then allowed them to go after brief questioning but decided to file a complaint this time.
The four youths have now been booked under Section 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion) of the IPC and Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
“We have asked CISF for clarification (on how they could take the flags inside) and also warned them to be careful so that such incidents should not be repeated,” Vasant Swarnkar, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI (Agra Circle), told The Indian Express.
A group of youths, including the four who were arrested, identified as Gaurav Talwar, Rishi Lavania, Sonu Baghel and Vishesh Kumar, had entered the complex through the Eastern Gate on Monday afternoon and waved saffron flags in front of the monument. They also made a short video of their act and uploaded it on YouTube. Four of them were immediately held by the CISF personnel and handed over to the police.
Strict legal action as per provisions will be taken against the accused, said Inspector Umesh Chandra Tripathi of Tajganj police station.
In a video of the incident, three members of the group are seen holding up flags while the fourth, who is recording the video, can be heard instructing them about which frame looks better.
CISF Commandant Rahul Yadav said the video seems to have been uploaded with an aim to get more followers on YouTube.
Selfie sticks are allowed inside the complex and the group used them along with pieces of saffron cloth to make the flags. “All the visitors entering the monument have to pass through metal detectors but small pieces of clothes can’t be detected,” Yadav said.
Physical checking has been stopped at the entry gates in the wake of the pandemic and visitors have to pass through metal detectors.
“Even if we ban selfie sticks, it may not be much use since there are abundant sticks in the lawns, which can be used by such people if they sneak in a piece of cloth,” Yadav said.
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