Just weeks after the Uttar Pradesh government dropped the Taj Mahal from its tourism brochure, Sangeet Som, BJP MLA and an accused in Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, said the monument was a “blot on Indian culture”.
Justifying the State government’s move to exclude the Taj Mahal from its list of tourism sites, Mr. Som on Sunday said it was built by “tyrants” who worked to destroy the Hindus of Uttar Pradesh and the country. He said blots like Mughal emperors would be removed from the pages of Indian history.
“Many people were sad the Taj Mahal was removed from the tourism booklet of the State government. What history are we talking about? The history that the builder of the Taj Mahal had imprisoned his father? [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] The history that the builder of the monument eliminated Hindus from U.P. and from India? It is quite sad and unfortunate that such tyrants are still part of our history,” Mr. Som, MLA from Sardhana said, addressing a gathering in Meerut after inaugurating the statue of an eighth century king, Anangpal Singh Tomar.
Centre to rewrite history
Mr. Som also said the BJP governments at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh were working to change history.
“I can tell you with complete guarantee that history will be changed. History which was misrepresented and distorted is being corrected now. The State government and the Central government are working to fix the history and include Lord Ram, Maharana Pratap and Shivaji in the history books. The governments at the State and Centre are working to remove stories of the blot that Babur, Akbar and Aurangzeb stand for,” he said
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised Mr. Som for questioning the Taj Mahal’s place in India’s heritage, and said the day was not far when the BJP would try to change the country’s name. She alleged that the party was making “divisive statements” with a “political agenda”.
Will govt. tell tourists to keep off Taj: Owaisi
Responding to comments by Sangeet Som, BJP MLA, questioning the Taj Mahal’s place in history, Asaduddin Owaisi, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief, on Monday asked if the government would tell tourists not to visit the monument.
Mr. Owaisi, Hyderabad MP, 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?” He said Hyderabad House in Delhi, the venue where the Centre hosts foreign dignitaries, was built by a “traitor”.
It was built by Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam, on land offered by the British.