Members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Sunday protested outside the Taj Mahal in Agra, claiming that a gate installed at the western entrance to the monument blocked the path to a 400-year-old temple nearby, reported Hindustan Times.
The members of the Hindutva organisation allegedly removed a 10x11 feet steel gate installed by the Archaeological Survey of India, reported The Times of India. The gate reportedly blocked access to the Siddheshwar Mahadev temple, located 350 metre away from the western gate.
The ASI was laying frames to install turnstile gates and door frame metal detectors at the western gate when the VHP members started shouting slogans, reported Hindustan Times. “We dislodged the turnstile gate and will not allow it to be installed at any cost,” said Ravi Dubey, an office bearer of the VHP. “The temple is 400 years old and has been in existence prior to Taj Mahal. So there is no logic in blocking passage to the temple.”
An unidentified ASI official told The Times of India that an alternative path to the temple. “We have lodged a police complaint against them [VHP activists] as they destroyed government property,” said the official.
Following the incident, conservation assistant for ASI at Taj Mahal Tarun Dutt Sharma lodged a complaint. Police registered a case against 30 people, five of who have been identified, reported Hindustan Times.
Ravi Dubey, Mohit Sharma, Niranjan Pathak, Madan Verma and Gulla have been booked under sections of Public Property Damage Prevention Act, Criminal Law Amendment Act and the Indian Penal Code, said Tajganj police station in-charge Shailendra Singh.