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Taj Mahal struck off tourism list by Uttar Pradesh govt

Taj Mahal struck off tourism list by Uttar Pradesh govt

NEW DELHI: The rightwing Hindu government in Uttar Pradesh has removed the Taj Mahal from its official list of tourist destinations for which the state is famous, reports said on Monday.

The move follows comments by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who said the 17th century marvel in Agra does not represent Indian ethos.

A new booklet released by the state government to mark six months of the Bharatiya Janata Party winning charge of India’s most-populous state has deleted any mention of the white marble stunner, reports said.

NDTV said the brochure was released by Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna who previously headed the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh. It catalogues important tourist destinations, including the temple in Gorakhpur of which Mr Adityanath is the main priest.

“There has been some miscommunication which has undermined the Taj Mahal,” said UP Minister Sidharth Nath Singh. To illustrate that the state government recognises its value, he said, “We are even thinking of constructing an international airport at Agra for the convenience of passengers.”

In June this year, Yogi Adityanath unpacked a major headline and buffed up his perception as a hardline Hindu priest when he said that the monument to love built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan does not reflect Indian culture. He claimed this is why foreign VIPs are gifted copies of the Gita and the Ramayana now by government officials instead of replicas of the Taj.

NDTV quoted opposition leaders as saying the new brochure proves the UP government discriminates against Muslims and attempts to blank out any part of India’s cultural heritage that is not Hindu.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2017

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