Bomb scare forces brief closure of Taj Mahal in India
New Delhi, Mar 4 (efe-epa).- The Taj Mahal was briefly closed on Thursday morning after a person, rejected for a job in the army, called police to inform that he had placed a bomb near the 17th-century monument and one of the most-visited tourist attractions in India.
The call, however, turned to be a hoax even as the threat sent police and civil authorities in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra town into a tizzy.
Agra police chief Babloo Kumar said the person called the police on its emergency number to inform that a bomb near the Taj Mahal would go off soon.
“An unknown person called police in the morning, saying his appointment in the army has been canceled and that is why he has planted a bomb near the Taj Mahal,” Kumar said in a video on the verified Twitter handle of Agra Police.
He said the police, following the standard operating procedure, took the threat seriously. and called bomb disposal squads for a search operation at the tourist spot.
“The search operation in and around the Taj Mahal is over. The situation is normal now and the Taj Mahal has been opened again for tourists.”
The officer said they had identified the caller’s location, and police teams were on their way to arrest him.
The world-famous white marble mausoleum, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in about 1630, is a Unesco World Heritage site.
Thousands of visitors, domestic as well as foreign, visit the monument daily.
The Taj Mahal was reopened in September last year for visitors after a six-month closure due to the coronavirus outbreak.
However, restrictions on the number of visitors each day continue along with strict Covid-19 guidelines. These include no touching of the white marble walls of the mausoleum.
The monument is a must-stop for all foreign leaders and celebrities who visit India.
The then United States President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited the mausoleum of love in February last year before the Covid-19 outbreak in India.
British royal couple Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed for pictures in front of the Taj Mahal in April 2016, reminding of Princess Diana’s one of the most iconic photos during her solo trip to the monument in 1992. EFE-EPA