Lucknow: The ‘Backward Caste’ minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, in a dig at some of his ‘vocal’ colleagues, has suggested that “those who are against the Taj Mahal or the Mughals” should stop visiting the Lal Quila or taking the Grand Trunk Road, which too have been built by Muslim rulers.
“Agra’s Taj Mahal is a monument to love. Some people speak against the mausoleum because it was constructed on the directions of Shah Jahan. But the same Mughal emperor had got the Lal Quila built in Delhi. Those who don’t want to take the name of the Mughals should stop visiting the Lal Quila,” said Om Prakash Rajbhar, the Uttar Pradesh backward caste welfare minister.
Rajbhar is not from the BJP. Rajbhar is the president of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, an ally of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. The SBSP has four members in an Assembly of 403.
“The GT Road was built by Sher Shah Suri. Such people should also stop using the road,” Rajbhar said during a conversation with journalists on Wednesday. “I am talking about those who are against the Taj Mahal or the Mughals,” Rajbhar added.
Sher Shah Duri, from Sasaram in Bihar, had taken control of the Mughal empire in 1540. The minister’s comments come at a time when certain members of the Yogi government and RSS are trying to erase the Mughals from the history of the Taj.
Blatantly false and polarizing statements are being bandied about, such as one from Sangeet Som, the BJP legislator of Sardhana, who said in Meerut on October 16 that those who had got the Taj built had “tried to finish Hindu culture” and that the Mughals were “traitors” and “a blot on the face of Indian culture”.
The next day, chief minister Adityanath had declared that it ‘did not matter’ who got the Taj built but the credit should go to “Hindustani” labourers.
Continuing from where Adityanath left off, BJP Rajya Sabha member Vinay Katiyar had claimed in Ayodhya that the Taj was a “monument of the Hindus”.
Joining in the chorus, Shahnawaz Hussain, a BJP spokesperson, had said in Gorakhpur on October 25 that the “Mughals didn’t bring the Taj to India in their pocket” and that they had chopped off the hands of the artisans who constructed it.
But Rajbhar appears to have had enough. His party has planned a show of strength in Lucknow on November 5.
“We will hold a rally at the Rama Bai Ambedkar ground to let the people know about our popularity,” he said. He threw in a good word for the Uttar Pradesh CM, however. He said that Adityanath was trying to do good work but some people, including administrative officials, were “conspiring” against him.
Rajbhar has also courted controversy last month when he said parents who do not send their children to school would be detained at police stations without food and water.
In other news
THE PERSONAL driver of state Cabinet Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar on Monday alleged that the minister was travelling in the car, which went on to hit a five-year-old boy in Gonda on Saturday, leading to his death. So far, the minister and the police had been claiming that the another vehicle in Rajbhar’s fleet had hit the boy.
The driver, Ramjeet Rajbhar, was arrested from Bhabhua area in Gonda on Monday. The concerned vehicle, a Maruti Innova, has been seized. Karnailganj police Station House Officer Sadanand Singh said: “We have granted Ramjeet temporary bail from the police station against two sureties of Rs 50,000 each, but he has been asked to appear before the local court tomorrow.”
“Ramjeet told us that he is the personal driver of the minister and that the minister was present in the vehicle when the accident occurred on Saturday,” he added. While the minister had been claiming that his car had not hit the boy, the victim’s family had alleged that his SUV knocked the boy down, causing his death.
The family has claimed that the boy, Shiva Goswami, was returning home with his aunt when a vehicle in the minister’s convoy hit him at Gosaipurva village in Karnailganj area. They claimed that the convoy did not stop after hitting the boy and that locals rushed the victim to the hospital, where he was declare brought dead on arrival.
Later, locals had staged a protest by placing the body on the road. Following this, an FIR was lodged against an unidentified driver on charges of causing death by negligence and rash driving. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the boy’s family.