Supreme Court refused to allow prayers by outsiders- that is, not locals – at the mosque on the premises of the Taj Mahal, saying the monument’s preservation is paramount.
The top court said the Taj is one of the seven wonders of the world and must be preserved. It added there is no need to perform prayers at the Taj Mahal.
To ensure foolproof security to the Taj Mahal, a world heritage site, the district administration on January 24 this year ordered that only locals with valid identity proof will be allowed entry to the monument complex to offer ‘namaz’ on Fridays. A petitioner had moved the SC against the district magistrate order.
In January, the district administration ordered that people entering the premises of the Taj for offering prayers on Fridays will have to carry identity cards to prove that they are residents of Agra. The Taj Mahal remains closed for tourists on Fridays. The administration’s move came following complaints that “outsiders”, including Bangladeshis and non-Indians”, enter the Taj Mahal complex on Fridays on the pretext of offering ‘namaz”.
The order also stated that the district magistrate should be immediately informed in case any outsider tries to enter the mosque. The order issued by additional district magistrate (city) K P Singh also states that entry of ‘outsiders’ can adversely affect the security of the monument.
“Now, we will allow only residents of Agra city to offer namaz at the mosque located inside the Taj Mahal complex,” said Agra district magistrate Guarav Dayal said.