Taj Mahal scarf row: Govt. refutes reports of ASI, CISF's involvement

New Delhi [India], Apr 23 (ANI): Refuting the reports of foreign models being asked to remove saffron scarves inscribed with 'Ram naam' before entering the Taj Mahal, the Tourism and Culture ministry has said that no official of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) or the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) was involved in the reported incident.

The ministry clarified that no such action was taken by any employee of the CISF and the ASI.

"The government has received reports from the CISF and the ASI in this connection. As per the reports, such action had not been taken either by any CISF personnel or by any employee of the ASI," the Culture Ministry said in a release.

The ministry further said that there was no such provision in the said rules and the ASI hadn't also issued any such circular.

It said the Commandant CISF, Taj Mahal unit informed that from the security angle, cigarettes, lighters, chewing gums, chocolates etc. had got deposited in the cloak room, but no scarf was sought to be removed.

"The CCTV footage related to this incident is in the custody of the CISF and it is evident from the CCTV footage that the lady tourist had been granted entry into the Taj complex, while wearing the saffron scarf with 'Ram naam' written on it," the ministry said.

The ministry said that the Superintending Archaeologist, Agra has confirmed that the persons seemingly collecting the scarf from a lady tourist are neither any employee of the ASI nor of the CISF.

"Prima facie it appears that these persons could be guides or members of the group of the lady tourists. This angle is being enquired into separately. Local police has also been directed to enquire in to this aspect," the ministry said.

It said that the ASI has not put any restriction on the colour or the design or the inscriptions on the scarf or dress of the visitors coming to see the Taj Mahal.

A report surfaced on the media claiming that models, representing their country in the 11-day Supermodel International Contest, were reportedly asked to remove the scarves when they were about to enter the Taj Mahal.

During their visit to the Taj Mahal, some of them covered their head with saffron scarves to protect themselves from the sun. (ANI)