The Agra administration has agreed to the request of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to provide extra security at the Taj Mahal following a threat from Shiv Sena of performing puja inside the mausoleum, IANS reported.
In its letter to the administration, ASI stated that under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, performing any kind of religious practice or beginning a new tradition in the protected monument was a violation of the Act.
On July 17, Shiv Sena’s Agra President Veenu Lavania announced that he and his aides would perform “aarti” at the Taj Mahal and dared the police and district administration to stop him.
“Taj Mahal is not a mausoleum but Tejo Mahalaya, a temple of Lord Shiva. We will perform ‘aarti‘ at Tejo Mahalaya on every Monday of ‘sawan’,” Lavania was quoted as saying by IANS.
ASI Superintending Archaeologist of Agra circle, Vasant Swarankar, told IANS that no ‘aarti‘ or ‘puja‘ had ever been performed in the Taj Mahal. “We have requested the district authorities to make proper security arrangements outside the Taj Mahal,” he said.
However, this is not the first time that right-wing groups have announced to perform ‘puja’ inside the monument. Last year, a group of women had performed ‘puja’ inside the mosque in the premises of Taj Mahal to prove that the monument was originally a Shiv temple.