UP govt distances itself from Sangeet Som's Taj Mahal remark
Lucknow: As the criticism mounted over BJP MLA Sangeet Som calling 'Taj Mahal' a blot on Indian history, the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday distanced itself from the remark describing it as a personal view of a person.
State Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi said, "We are proud of Taj Mahal. It's our cultural heritage. There should not be any confusion on it."
She further stated that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and she were very proud of having such a great monument as Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh.
"It's a personal statement. Anybody can have any point of view. But as afar as government is concerned, me and my Chief Minister has put it on record that we are extremely proud of the fact that Taj Mahal is housed in Uttar Pradesh," she added.
Earlier in the day, Sardhana MLA Sangeet Som said, "Many people were disappointed that the Taj Mahal was removed from the UP tourism booklet. What history are we talking about? Whose history? The creator of the Taj Mahal (Shah Jahan) imprisoned his father. He wanted to wipe out all Hindus from India. If these people are part of our history, then it is very unfortunate."
For such disrespectful statement, he faced backlash from all across the country on social platforms. With more than 10,000 netizens commenting on the issue, #tajmahal became one of the most trending hashtags on Monday.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, "No more Red Fort speeches on August 15. The PM will address the nation from Nehru Stadium...will fill some hearts with unabashed glee."
"Even Hyderabad House in Delhi was built by "Traitor", will Modi stop hosting Foreign Dignitaries?," asked All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi.
Journalists Vikram Thapar, and Sidharth Bhatia also mocked the BJP MLA's comment.
Comedian Tanmay Bhat described the issue of Taj Mahal as irrelevant and said politicians were using it to divide the country.
"Taj Mahal is such a non issue but politicians will continue to try and divide this country...aur yaha twitter pe hum RW LW khelte rahe hai (and here on twitter, we will keep playing the game of right wing, left wing)," he wrote.
Another comedian Kunal Kamra trolled the statement, saying, "Taj Mahal is built by someone who exploited the country...But can the RSS tell us one thing that they've built which could help tourism?"
Athif, whose Twitter handle describes him as an IT Management Professional, wrote, "BJP MLA Sangeet Som purchased land for meat, perhaps beef processing unit in UP, but wants Taj Mahal out of history book! Hypocrisy overloaded."
"Sangeet Som, not just the Taj Mahal even the Parliament House and Rashtrapathi Bhavan were made by traitors. Are you going to close them too," wrote twitter user Anoop Chathoth.
Another user pointed out the communal colour of the issue by comparing it with the 1992 demolition of Babri Masjid.
"Time to put off a trip to Taj Mahal before it goes full Babri. Don't have a good feeling about this," he said.
Music composer Rahul Raj, said: "In UP, roads, hospitals, schools, colleges, police, municipal, etc. are in extremely bad shape, but BJP is discussing Taj Mahal. Priorities."
There were also a few impressed by his remark on the Mughal emperor's "brutality", and tweeted in support.
"Agree with Sangeet Som. Taj Mahal is indeed a blot on our values. Its creator annihilated Hindus, looted their temples, amputated labourers," tweeted Sonam Mahajan whose description calls her a "politically aware Dogra Hindu".
"Dont agree fully. Construction of Taj Mahal also entailed chopping of limbs of workers. Does that not bother you a single bit," wrote another user.
After Taj Mahal was removed from the Uttar Pradesh government's tourism booklet, Pakistani news wire Times of lslamabad had tweeted, "India ignoring Taj Mahal as it reminds them of thousands years of Muslim rule over India".