AGRA, Jan 10: What may be another case of racial discrimination against the people hailing from Northeast India, a group of students from Manipur were allegedly stopped from entering the Taj Mahal by CISF personnel deployed in the region over nationality doubts.
Reports stated that the students were asked to produce the proof of their nationality. The students had come from the Central Agricultural University in Imphal. They were visiting Taj Mahal as part of an all-India educational tour.
They reached the gates at around 3: 30 in the afternoon but were not allowed to enter the gate on the grounds that they ‘resembled foreigners’ trying to pass off as Indians in order to enter on cheaper tickets. The ticket for Indian nationals is Rs 40 and for foreigners, it is Rs 1,000 except for those from SAARC and BIMSTEC countries.
The students had produced the ID cards and a letter stating they were on national tour but the CISF personnel did not relent. This further led to an argument between the security staff and the professor accompanying the group. The complaint states that the students were then asked to show their Aadhar Card and only those carrying it were allowed inside.
However, when the local police intervened in the incident, the students were allowed to enter the great monument.
Annoyed over the repeated harassment meted out to the people from Northeast India, the students later lodged a complaint with the ASI officials alleging discrimination. Following the incident, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Monday ordered an inquiry.
SHO of the Tourism police station, RP Pandey said, “The students alleged that CISF personnel misbehaved with them and that they were asked to show their nationality proof. They then called the tourism police, who reached the spot and intervened to allow the students to enter.”
It may be mentioned that this is not the first instance where students hailing from the Northeast region are entering historical monuments and places simply because their facial features differs from those living in mainland India.
In 2015, a group of students from prestigious Handique Girls’ College of Assam was prevented from entering the Taj Mahal by authorities because “their faces looked like foreigners.”