Adityanath to visit Taj, says Indian labourers built it

Lucknow, Oct 17: In a bid to stem the row over the Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday said the famed monument in Agra was built "by the blood and sweat of Indian labourers". An official said he will also visit the Taj.

"It does not matter who built it and for what reason. It was built by the blood and sweat of Indian labourers," the Chief Minister said of the 17th century marble monument which is India's biggest tourist draw.

The statement came after Uttar Pradesh BJP legislator Sangeet Som sparked national outrage by calling the Mughal-built Taj Mahal a blot on Indian culture.

Adityanath said the monument of love was important for the Uttar Pradesh government, specially "from the tourism perspective" and "it is our priority to provide facilities and safety to tourists there".

Adityanath is scheduled to visit the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and other important monuments in Agra on October 26, an official told IANS.

The Taj was built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz. Considered one of the wonders of the world, it attracts millions of Indian and foreign tourists every year.

Last month, the Uttar Pradesh government had omitted references to the Taj in a booklet published on the completion of six months of the Adityanath government.

This drew sharp criticism, prompting Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi to say that that Taj Mahal was of great importance to the state government and to the nation.

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