BJP MLA questions Taj Mahal's place in heritage, fuels controversy

Meerut
16 Oct 2017

Placing the Taj Mahal in the crosshairs of another controversy, BJP MLA Sangeet Som today questioned the 17th century architectural marvel's place in India's heritage and said history would be rewritten to erase Mughal emperors from it.

Som's comments during a visit to Meerut district yesterday prompted an angry response from All India Majlis-e- Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader and Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi who asked if the government would tell tourists not to visit the monument. The BJP stepped into the row with party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao describing Muslim rule in India as "barbaric and a period of incomparable intolerance" while asserting that its members could hold any opinion they want on specific monuments.

Som, the party's legislator from Sardhana, also distorted history to say it was built by an emperor who had imprisoned his father and targeted Hindus. In fact, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, was the one imprisoned till the end of his days by his son Aurangzeb. In comments that came soon after the Yogi Adityanath government reportedly left out the Taj Mahal from an official tourism booklet, Som said, "Many people were pained to see that the Taj Mahal was removed from the list of places (tourist destinations). What type of history?

Asked about the BJP's stand on Som's comments on the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife, party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said the party does not have any view on specific monuments and its members can hold whatever opinion they have. Responding to Som's comments, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi today asked if the government would tell tourists not to visit the monument. Owaisi, the Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad, tweeted, ""Traitors" also build Red Fort will Modi stop hoisting Tiranga? Can Modi and Yogi tell domestic and foreign tourist not to visit Taj Mahal?"

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief also said Hyderabad House in Delhi, the venue for the Centre hosting foreign dignitaries, was built by "traitor". "Even Hyderabad House in Delhi was built by "Traitor" will Modi stop hosting Foreign Dignitaries?" he asked.