Three days before the 369th 'Urs' of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan is to be held in Taj Mahal, a Hindu outfit has moved the Agra Civil Court with a petition seeking a ban on the commemoration of the same.
The petitioner, Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, has also challenged the free entry for 'Urs' inside the Taj Mahal.
The court accepted the petition and has set March 4 as the date of hearing.
Sanjay Jat, national spokesperson of the Hindu outfit, said that he had sought information under the Right To Information (RTI) from the Archaeological Survey of India, demanding to know if there was any permission for the commemoration of the 'Urs' given by the Mughals, or the British government, or the Indian government.
The ASI responded that there was no such permission granted to the 'Urs' organising committee. Hence, the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha has moved the court to put an end to the practice.
The three-day 'Urs' event will be held this year from February 6 to February 8.
The period is observed to commemorate the death of Shah Jahan, who got the Taj Mahal built in 1653 on the banks of Yamuna river. The event is marked by the rituals of 'chadar posh', 'sandal', 'gusul' and 'kul', among others. On the final day of the 'Urs', a 'chadar' (bedsheet), measuring 1,880 metres or more, is offered.
Hindu Mahasabha divisional president Meena Diwakar and district president Saurabh Sharma told India Today that when no religious programmes could be held inside ASI monuments, then the commemoration of the 'Urs' is illegal.
Saurabha Sharma further said that the Hindu Mahasabha intends to petition for a survey of the Taj Mahal premises on the lines of the one ordered at the Kashi Vishwanath and Krishna Janmabhoomi.
The 'Urs' organising committee chairman Syed Ibrahim Zaidi, meanwhile, has claimed that the ASI issues yearly permissions for the event and this year, too, it has been granted. He added that a couple of days before, a meeting was held at the ASI office to discuss the arrangements for the 'Urs'.
Syed Ibrahim Zaidi said that the 'Urs' of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had been held at the Taj Mahal for centuries and the claim that there was no permission for the same was completely "bogus". He added that the British government and subsequently the Indian government have always given permission for the 'Urs'.
In other news, Khuddam-e-Roza committee, president, Haji Tahir Uddin Tahir said that the committee will be offering a 1,507-metre long 'chadar' at the grave of Shah Jahan.
Entry to the Taj Mahal during the three days of the 'Urs' will be free, and the schedule will be notified by the ASI soon.