Islamic State threat to Taj Mahal?
Agra, March 17: A pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media group has warned of attacks in India and published a graphic portraying the Taj Mahal- built by Emperor Shah Jahan- as a possible target.
The security arrangements around India’s iconic monument of love was tightened on after the threats from the dreaded terror out Islamic State.
Patrolling around the Yamuna river bank was increased and the police mounted extra vigil to the Taj Mahal – the 17th-century monument of love, according to the reports,
The information, which appeared on a website claiming allegiance to ISIS, was passed onto the police department and intelligence agencies on Thursday after which several teams combed the area and stepped up vigil.
The Archeological Survey of India and senior police officials from Agra, however, tried to play down the threat, saying the security arrangements in the area were routine.
Local newspapers published a photo from the website showing a graphics of a fighter in combat fatigues and black headgear armed with an assault rifle and a rocket-propelled grenade standing near the Taj Mahal, raising concerns about the safety of the historic monument.
An inset in the graphic features another image of the Taj Mahal within crosshairs with the words “New target” written below it.
There is also an image of a van with the Arabic text “Agra istishhadi” (Agra martyrdom-seeker) written in English, indicates the threat of a suicide attack.
The world heritage monument is visited by over 6 million tourists annually.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Agra, Preetinder Singh said police teams were on alert and a close watch was being kept on crowds.
Central Industrial Security Force(CISF) looking the internal security of the Taj Mahal. The Uttar Pradesh State Police and Provincial Armed Constabulary mans looking the outer posts.
SWOT commandos have been put in charge at viewpoints. Mock drills are being conducted every few hours to test the state of preparedness.
Outside the 500-metre security ring, state police teams are keeping a strict watch on the movement of vehicles both on the western gate parking and the Shilpgram parking towards the eastern gate, the sources said.
Superintendent of Police Sushil Dhule and a team of the bomb disposal and dog squads on Thursday evening visited the entire area around the Taj Mahal.
Meanwhile, he number of visitors to the Taj Mahal is on the rise in this time. The annual Taj Mahotsava is set to begin on Saturday.
(With Agency Inputs)