CISF to evaluation Taj Mahal safety after four youths held for waving saffron flags on premises

New Delhi, January 5

A day after four people were held for waving saffron flags on the Taj Mahal premises, the CISF, which has the responsibility to guard it, on Tuesday said it would review its surveillance and intelligence gathering at the Mughal-era monument to ensure such incidents did not recur.

The four youths have been booked for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.

“Since it’s a security breach, we have sought a report from the CISF in the next two to three days to understand what happened,” Vasant Swarnkar, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI (Agra Circle), told PTI.

Police said the four youths who had been arrested were members of a right-wing outfit and they had entered the Taj Mahal on Monday afternoon through the Eastern Gate. They waved saffron flags and also uploaded a 10-second video of the act on YouTube.

As part of the security protocol, all visitors to the ASI monument are checked using metal-detectors, they cannot carry posters or any writing material. However, the use of selfie-sticks is not banned.

Physical checking has been stopped at the gates of Taj Mahal after it reopened for visitors following the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

“Tourists carry all kinds of clothes inside the premises. It is difficult to prevent them from carrying pieces of clothing like handkerchiefs or dupattas and they can be of different colours and may have any religious connotation.

“However, we are updating our surveillance around the site, increasing and intensifying intelligence gathering and even patrolling. There are some steps internally that we are contemplating to ensure that such incidents do not happen again,” CISF commandant Rahul Yadav told PTI. 

“We have to be sensitive towards tourists as well and keep their convenience in mind. We have to be tourist-friendly,” he said.          

On the complaint of the CISF, the four youths have been booked under Section 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.

The video, which has gone viral on social media, shows three of the youths waving the flags while the fourth is recording the act and even giving instructions to them to pose. PTI

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