BHARTIYA Janata Party (BJP) MP Vinay Katiyar claimed on Wednesday that Taj Mahal used to be a temple of Lord Shiva before it was captured by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, according to media reports.

In an interview with CNN-News18, when asked about Yogi Adityanath’s scheduled visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, Katiyar refused to call the monument by its name and said, “It is Tejo Mahal. Taj Mahal used to be a temple of Shankar. Shah Jahan then buried his wife there.” He added: “Hindu kings had built the Tejo Mahal. It was so famous that Shah Jahan later captured it.”

Katiyar’s comments come at a time when the Taj Mahal is mired in controversy surrounding its history.

On Monday, BJP MLA Sangeet Som courted controversy when he declared that the Taj Mahal was a “blot on India culture”, adding that the monument was built by “traitors”.
He said, “Many people were disappointed that the Taj Mahal was removed from Uttar Pradesh tourism booklet. What history are we talking about? The creator of Taj Mahal imprisoned his father. He wanted to wipe out Hindus. If these people are part of our history, then it is very sad and we will change this history”.

A day later on Tuesday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that he does not agree with Som, and that the Taj Mahal and Red Fort are both part of India’s heritage. He also said that we should work to protect the monument because it was built by “blood and sweat of Indian labourers”.

Responding to Opposition’s rebuttal on the issue, he said that no one should focus on them.

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