The Centre has ordered a probe into reports of foreign models being asked to remove saffron scarves and scarves with Hindu symbols before entering the Taj Mahal.

What’s the issue?

Thirty-four models representing their country in the 11-day Supermodel International Contest (which started on April 12) recently visited the Taj Mahal in Agra. 

Some of them covered their head with saffron scarves and scarves with Hindu symbols like ‘Jai Shree Ram’ written on them, to protect themselves from the heat. However, when they were about to enter the monument, they were reportedly asked to remove the scarves.

Brij Bhushan, commandant, CISF, had told The Times of India then that “ASI through an order has stated that all sorts of religious symbols are banned from being taken inside a protected monument.”

“Our intention is not to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments.,” he had added.

Outrage by Hindu outfits

The alleged incident earned the ire of Hindu outfits including the Bajrang Dal which announced a “maha gherao” of the Taj Mahal and staged a protest outside the mausoleum on Saturday. Shiv Sena and Hindu Jagran Manch also took part in today’s protest.

They demanded action against the personnel who had allegedly asked models visiting the monument to leave their saffron scarves at the gate four days ago.

ASI and CISF now say there is no such rule

The Archaeological Survey of India and Central Industrial Security Force announced on Saturday that no rule barred anyone from wearing any colour to Taj Mahal

As per a Times of India report, the officials are now saying that there is no ban on religious clothing at Taj Mahal unless the symbols were being used for any kind of promotion or demonstration or in violation of customs and practices followed at the monument.

The govt steps in

And now, the Centre has ordered a probe into the alleged incident.

“You can wear anything, whether it is yellow, red or green. There is no restrictions with regard to clothing. There is no guideline from our side. We have set up an inquiry into the matter,” Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma told PTI.

The minister asserted that there are no restrictions with regard to the clothing for visiting the world famous 17th century monument.

He, however, said that a tourist guide or a policeman could have asked them to remove the saffron scarves and the truth will emerge after the probe.