4 Tourists Arrested For Offering Namaz On Taj Mahal Premises; Know Why
Agra: Four tourists were arrested on Thursday for offering ‘namaz’ at the Shahi mosque on Taj Mahal premises the previous day.
“Four people have been arrested for offering namaz at the mosque in Taj Mahal premises. Three of them are from Hyderabad and one from Azamgarh. They have been booked under section 153 of IPC and presented in the court,” said Vikas Kumar, SP City Agra.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) stated that offering namaz inside the premises of the UNESCO-protected world heritage site is prohibited on all days except Friday, according to a Supreme Court order.
Even on Fridays, only residents of Tajganj locality, where the Taj is located, are allowed to pray between noon and 2 pm, Superintending archaeologist of ASI, Agra Circle, Raj Kumar Patel pointed out.
The four men, spotted offering namaz at Shahi mosque around 5 pm on Wednesday, were accosted by officials from ASI and CISF, and handed over to local police, PTI reported.
The arrests surprised some Agra residents who said that namaz prohibition inside the Taj mosque was unheard of till a few days ago.
“Namaz has been offered at the mosque of the Taj Mahal regularly. But some days ago, the ASI cited a Supreme Court order barring offering of the namaz on the mosque premises except Friday,” said Ibrahim Zaidi, head of Intezamia Committee at Taj Mahal.
According to Vinod Dixit, a tourist guide from Lucknow who accompanied the four men, said they didn’t know about the rule.
“They had no idea that they cannot offer namaz. They did it by mistake. There was no notice board saying that it is prohibited,” he said.