Shiv Sena activists breach security, offer prayers in Taj Mahal

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Agra/Lucknow, Jul 24 (UNI) Some Shiv Sena activists breached security at the Taj Mahal and reportedly performed 'Shiv puja' near the mausoleum here today.

Police took seven activists of the Shiv Sena, including four women in custody but later released them on personal bond.

A senior Archeological Survey of India (ASI) official said the activists, who went inside the monument on regular ticket from western gate, suddenly started performing prayers near the mausoleum and surprised the security forces.

They were caught and removed from the area, the official said.

Security has been beefed up in and around the monument after the incident, police officials in the state police headquarters said.

The ASI officials said as the security forces were already on alert over possible forced entry by the Shiv Sainiks in the month of 'Shravan', the situation was brought under control within no time.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena, Agra district chief Vinu Lamani, who was the leader of the team inside the Taj -- one of the seven wonders of the world -- claimed that they performed Shiv puja near the monument.

Talking to UNI, Mr Lamani said they went inside the Taj at around 1645 hrs after purchasing tickets and kept the flowers and other puja items hidden inside their clothes.

''Taj Mahal is originally a Shiv Temple and we have all rights to perform puja during the holy month of Shravan,'' he claimed.

On the other hand, Aman (peace) committee in Agra has condemned the incident claiming that it was an effort to disturb the communal harmony in the country.

Earlier, historian P N Oak in his book had claimed that Taj Mahal was built on a Shiv temple in 16th century.

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