Taj Mahal security beefed up after reported threat from IS

Taj MahalTaj Mahal

Lucknow: Security has been enhanced at the Taj Mahal in the wake of a media report of a threat to the 17th century monument from terror outfit ISIS.

"A link has been circulated in which it is claimed that Taj Mahal is on the target of ISIS. We are probing it. However, security has been enhanced in and around the monument," Additional Director General, Law and Order, Daljeet Singh Chowdhury told PTI.

The security was jacked up after a website showed graphics of the Taj Mahal with a terrorist standing alongside holding what looked like a weapon.

According to reports, a pro-ISIS media group published a graphic depicting Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world, as a possible target of the terror outfit. The graphic was released almost a week after security agencies carried out combing operation in Uttar Pradesh in which one accused - Saifullah - was killed and six others were arrested.

It was reported that Saifullah was brainwashed by ISIS through the online medium and had carried out an attack on a train in Bhopal. The graphic features an ISIS fighter wearing combat fatigues and black headgear armed with an assault rifle standing near the Taj Mahal.

It also features three inset pictures -  an image of Taj Mahal within crosshairs with the words 'New Target' below it, a van with the Arabic text 'Agra istishhadi' (Agra martyrdom-seeker) written in English, implying the threat of a suicide bombing, and an image of a 'bomb'.

The internal security of Taj Mahal, the biggest draw for foreign and domestic tourists, is provided by the Central Industrial Security Force, a central para-military force entrusted with the task of protecting industrial units, airports, metro rail and various other sensitive places. The Uttar Pradesh Police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) man the outer periphery.

Outside the 500 metre security ring, police teams keep a strict watch on the movement of vehicles both on the western gate parking and the Shilpgram parking slot towards the eastern gate. Last month CISF personnel went into a tizzy when a youth from Tamil Nadu tried to scale the walls of the heritage monument.

The 31-year-old man from Tamil Nadu was later handed over to local police. In April last year, three youths from Delhi had tried to scale the wall of Taj Mahal in an inebriated state. They were nabbed by CISF personnel and handed over to local police.

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