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Villagers Say They Were Locked Inside Homes Ahead of Yogi Adityanath’s Agra Visit

The district magistrate denied all the people were locked in their homes. He said two members of each family were invited and the rest were told to stay inside.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | CNN-News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:October 26, 2017, 10:24 PM IST

Agra: Residents of Kachhpura village near the Taj Mahal have alleged that they were locked inside their homes on Thursday morning by the district administration ahead of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s visit, citing security reasons.

The 100-metre stretch of the village, which forms a part of the Mughal heritage walk that passes through the city, was chock-full of policemen and officials. Adityanath was supposed to cross this stretch on foot before launching a development project. From there, he proceeded to the monument.

Doors in the narrow lanes were bolted and locked from outside and the villagers, be it children or the elderly, could only peer through the windows at the commotion outside.

A resident spoke to ETV from behind the grills of his window and expressed his resentment at the administration’s “strange” action.

“We wanted to see CM Yogi Adityanath, but in the morning, police came and locked us all inside. This is strange. This diktat has spoiled our excitement. The entire village is locked inside their houses. What kind of security measure is this? Everyone is angry over this action by the administration,” the villager said.

District Magistrate Gaurav Dayal said that ensuring the CM’s security in the narrow lanes was not easy, but denied that people were locked in their homes.

“The lane was too narrow and space was limited, so we invited two members from a family each. The rest were asked to stay at their homes as there was a space crunch. The measures were taken in the wake of CM’s security and we cannot compromise with it at any cost,” he said.

He added that all the villagers were later allowed to come out after Yogi Adityanath asked the officials to call them.

BJP spokesperson Shalabh Mani Tripathi also denied that people were locked and said there was only some barricading. “No one has been locked up or jailed. Only some barricading was done and routes were diverted due to security measures. CM has a certain security protocol which needs to be followed wherever he goes,” said Tripathi.

The Kachhpura tourist village was originally the property of Raja Maan Singh, who is said to have owned the lands on which Taj Mahal now stands. According to the Shahjahan-Nama, Emperor Shah Jahan compensated Raja Maan Singh with four palaces to acquire the site to build the Taj Mahal. The village is popular with tourists as it offers a splendid view of the Taj Mahal.

Adityanath’s decision to visit Taj Mahal was announced after a series of controversies erupted, beginning with the monument not finding a place in the UP tourism department booklet. Subsequently, BJP MLA Sangeet Som called Taj Mahal a “blot on Indian history” and BJP MP Vinay Katiyar said it was originally a Shiva temple.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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