New Delhi, June 13: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) members on Tuesday tried to vandalise the western gate of Taj Mahal claiming that it blocked the way to a 400-year-old Hindu temple. The members of VHP first protested at the newly installed western gate and later tried to vandalise it. Following the incident, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) lodged a case against 30 members of VHP for rioting.Also Read - SSC CPO Recruitment: Vacancies Announced For SI In Delhi Police, CAPFs, ASI In CISF 2019 | Details Read

The incident took place at least 300 metres away from the gate, amid high security and caused panic among the tourists. According to the reports, the VHP members arrived and started protesting when the ASI was laying down frames for the installation of turnstile gates and metal-detectors at the western gate. Also Read - Wow! 72-Year-Old Man Makes Rotating House as a Monument of Love For His Wife

A video footage of the protest show VHP members trying to remove the western gate of Taj Mahal with hammers and iron rods. The members removed the turnstile gate installed by the ASI and even raised slogans against them. Also Read - Long Distance Runner & Cyclist Runs For Over 22 Km to Urge People to Keep Yamuna Clean

“On Sunday around 25-30 activists from the VHP came near the western gate of the Taj Mahal and started vandalising the newly installed turnstile gate… The protesters had hammers and iron rods with them. They removed the gate and threw it… the Taj safety police team reached there and stopped them from vandalising more property,” Taj Safety circle officer (CO) Prabhat Kumar was quoted as saying.

The police tried to reason with them and told them that there’s an optional path leading to the temple, the VHP members, however, claimed that the optional path is extremely narrow on which people can’t even walk properly.

Ravi Dubey, a VHP member and claiming to be General Secretary of the 400-year-old Hindu temple, said, “The gate being installed is blocking passage to Siddheshwar Mahadev temple at Basai Ghat alongside the western wall of Taj Mahal. The temple is 400 years old and has been in existence prior to Taj Mahal. So there is no logic in blocking passage to the temple.”

An FIR has been registered against Ravi Dubey, Madan Verma, Mohit Sharma, Niranjan Singh Rathore, Gulla and 25 other VHP members.