Mumbaikars criticised the statements issued by BJP leader Sangeet Som pertaining to Taj Mahal being a blot on Indian culture. According to them, Taj Mahal is known as an architectural monument having historical significance and it attracts large number of tourists from the country and overseas. They also are upset with the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to remove Taj Mahal from state’s tourism booklet. Som wrongly quoted history saying Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had jailed his father. However, Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb had dethroned and jailed his father inside the Agra Fort. The BJP leader is known for delivering controversial speeches and is among the politicians charged with provoking riots which claimed 60 lives and many people displaced in Muzaffarnagar in 2013.
When AV spoke to Madhukar Chavan, former Congress MLA, he said, “Taj Mahal is known as a world heritage monument, hence, steps must be taken to conserve it. BJP wants to distort history so it is issuing controversial statements. The constitution has granted equal rights to every citizen. BJP is trying to create a rift between Hindus and Muslims. They also had given false assurances to people pertaining to Ram Temple construction. However, citizens are smart enough and they can’t be fooled. The results of Nanded civic body elections are a wake-up call for the BJP. BJP is known as Bharat Jalao Party and people will give a befitting reply to them.”
Sandesh Wagh, History professor said, “A data must be procured from Archaeological department to ascertain how much money is generated due to large visitor turnout at Taj Mahal. Just like people visit Eiffel Tower in Paris in the same manner visitors arrive in India to watch Taj Mahal. The government must take steps to safeguard Taj Mahal.”
Dilip Kumar Gandhi, BJP MP said, “I am hearing such statements for the first time and both Hindu and Muslim community leaders should refrain from issuing controversial comments. Politicians must work for the nation’s development instead of focussing on such trivial matters.”
Nawab Malik, NCP spokesperson said, “Instead of focusing on issues like unemployment and inflation BJP is trying to divert people’s attention by issuing such irresponsible statements. Earlier they use to indulge in politics over communal issues but now they are concentrating on tombs and monuments.”
Zamir Khan, Rehmani Group, President of North Mumbai, said, “Mughal rulers had built several tombs and historical structures but if you want to remove those from history books then there are many of them and how far will you go? Tipu Sultan was the first king to challenge the British. If you want to wipe off history then even Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s battle against Mughals will be excluded. How will you stop the PM Modi to deliver speech from Red Fort?”