Agra Mayor Calls for Aurangzeb Plaques to be Removed after MNS Asks Maha CM to Demolish Tomb

Agra Mayor Navin Jain on Wednesday said he, as the national chair of the Mayors’ Council, has appealed to all mayors to remove all paintings of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb from all places. The mayor said, “Aurangzeb was a cruel ruler who destroyed Hindu temples and also forced the Hindu community to convert to Islam,” adding that there should be no place for Aurangzeb in India.

The comment comes amid a row over the recent visit of AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi to Aurangzeb’s tomb in Aurangabad. Following his visit, security was tightened in and around Aurangzeb’s grave in Kuldabad following calls from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to ‘uproot’ it, here on Wednesday.

While MNS activist Jajanan Kali on Tuesday questioned the need to preserve Aurangzeb’s tomb, BJP MLC Prasad Lad threatened to remove the small memorial which is a major tourist attraction in and around Aurangabad.

In the wake of potential threats to the tomb, the Maharashtra Police and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have deployed additional guards and a van at the site, although it remains open to the public.

Ladd demanded that the additional security be lifted immediately, and questioned whether this was the “Hindutva brand” of Prime Minister Uddhav Thackeray, when chanting the Hanuman Chalisa was seen as sedition.

“This is the same Aurangzeb who executed Chhatrapati Sampaji Maharaj (son of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj), and demolished Hindu temples to build mosques. Now, the Prime Minister is providing security for Aurangzeb’s grave. Is this the style of Sonia Gandhi-Sharad Pawar of Hindutva or the late Hindutva Balasaheb?” asked Ladd. Thackeray.

He demanded that the state government abandon the new security measures immediately and vowed to uproot the tomb of the Mughal emperor.

The Gyanvapi Mosque, cases heard by the Varanasi Court and Supreme Court, is also believed to have been built by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The petitions claimed that Aurangzeb demolished the Kashi Vishwanath temple, which was built more than two thousand years ago, and built the mosque in its place.

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