V-day:Police on alert to welcome rush of lovers at Taj Mahal

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Taj Mahal
Agra (Delhi), Feb 13: On the occasion of Valentine's Day that falls on Feb 14, the Agra police is on alert. The reason being that this one day that sees a huge rush of both tourists and others visiting the iconic Taj Mahal, which is also considered a monument of eternal love. The police are making sure that all precautions are put in place that no foreigners are harassed and there is no mischief of any sort.

Sushant Gaur, chief of the tourist police station has been quoted as saying, "We have a patrol car stationed at the entrance gate of the Taj at all times, as well as six to eight policemen manning the area. On holidays and occasions like Valentine's Day Feb 14, the number of people visiting the Taj goes up; so we also increase our forces in the area."

According to an official of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), who is posted at the ticket office of the Taj Mahal, as many as 25,000-30,000 people visit the monument every day. On holidays and occasions like the Valentine's Day, another 10,000 people make a beeline to visit the monument of love.

Gaur commented on the trend used by die-hard romantics, "The peak season for tourists to visit Agra is between November and January, spilling over to February since the weather is pleasant. It's not necessary that just because there is a large crowd, there has to be an untoward incident. We cannot take chances."

He added, "Just a few days back, we got a call about two women from South Korea being harassed by three boys in the Taj Mahal. The boys, two of whom were from Meerut, tried to befriend the women and wanted to take their photographs, but on their refusal, they tried to force them. The women raised an alarm and the people nearby soon got hold of the boys and called us."

The tourist police wing get around 15-20 calls every day, most of it not related to crime. Gaur commented, "We also have people calling us for directions to monuments; so our duty is ensure the tourists' safety, act as their guide and see that they go back from Agra with a good impression." Gaur also said the tourist police station number is displayed on the state government's official website and travel brochures. He added the staff can be accessed in the national toll free number 100 and there are also plans to have a dedicated helpline telephone number soon.

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