The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists damaged the west gate of the Taj Mahal and tried to remove the turnstile gate installed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is responsible for conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in the country.. They claimed that the gate blocked the path to a 400 year old Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. On Sunday, a video has been released which shows the VHP activists with hammers and iron rods in their hands trying to vandalize the western entrance of the Taj Mahal. The VHP activists were seen shouting slogans against the ASI for installing the gate they tried to vandalize even though there was another path to the Shiva Mandir named Siddheswar Mahadev Temple on Basai Ghat.
“They removed the gate and threw it some around 50 metres from there. Soon the Taj safety police team reached there and stopped them from vandalising more property,” Taj Safety circle officer (CO) Prabhat Kumar told a local daily. Following the incident the ASI has filed an FIR against five activists of VHP and 20-25 other unidentified supporters in connection with the matter. No arrests have been made so far by the police. during the protest many tourist were seen leaving the site.
According to a VHP official Ravi Dubey, the gate reportedly blocked access to the Siddheshwar Mahadev at Basai ghat along the western wall of the Taj Mahal. He also said that the optional route, suggested by the ASI, was a narrow one and people cannot walk properly on it.
On Tuesday a BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh Surendra Singh gave a controversial statement saying that the Taj Mahal should be named to Ram Mahal or Krishna Mahal and it should be given an Indian identity. He also said that he will write a letter to CM Yogi Adityanath to ensure his demand is fulfilled.