A 12-feet minaret at the entry gate of Taj Mahal collapsed due to heavy rain and high winds on Wednesday evening. The metal pillar which was referred to as Darwaza-e-Rauza was situated at the entry gate and reportedly crashed as wind speed crossed 100 km per hour during the thunderstorm last evening. The pillar collapsed around midnight and the minaret and the dome broke into several pieces. There were no casualties in the incident.
Taj Mahal has been in the news as the Archeological Society of India (ASI), which maintains the iconic heritage site, had appealed to the Supreme Court to sort out its ownership after the Sunni Waqf board had claimed that the iconic Taj was its property. The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, asked the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board to present the documents signed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan that can prove its ownership of Taj Mahal.
“Who in India will believe that it the Taj belongs to the Waqf board,” asked the Bench, comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud. It added that such issues should not waste the time of the apex court.
The court was hearing a 2010 appeal filed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The bench also asked the counsel how Shah Jahan could sign a document when he was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb at the Agra Fort in 1658 after a bitter war of succession.
It told the counsel that the 17th-century monument and other heritage structures, built by the Mughals, were taken over by the British after the Mughal rule. After India’s independence, the monuments came under the Government of India and were being managed by the ASI.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on April 17.
The incident also comes at a time when several steps are being taken to preserve the monument from damage. The authorities had recently ordered that the entry to Taj Mahal will be restricted to only three hours to reduce the “human load” on the fragile 17th-century monument.