India beefs up security at Taj Mahal after Islamic State threat

By AFP
Published: March 17, 2017
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Taj Mahal. PHOTO: REUTERS

Taj Mahal. PHOTO: REUTERS

AGRA, INDIA: India has boosted security at the Taj Mahal after a pro-Islamic State group reportedly warned of attacks in the country and threatened the 17th century monument to love, police said Friday.

Images published in local media showed a fighter in combat fatigues and black headgear at the Taj Mahal, India’s biggest tourist attraction, and the words “new target” as the backdrop.

The US-based Site Intelligence Group, which tracks militant activity, said the pro-IS Ahwaal Ummat Media Centre had originally published the graphic on Telegram on Tuesday.

“There have been no specific intelligence inputs or any official alerts, but going by media reports we have stepped up security at the Taj,” senior police superintendent Preetender Singh told AFP on Friday.

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“Security drills are being carried out on a six-hourly basis instead of the usual daily drill.”

Members of the bomb disposal squad and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team have been deployed with additional personnel patrolling the Yamuna river which flows next to the Taj, he said.

India’s leaders say the IS group does not have influence in the country of over 1.2 billion people, which has a large but traditionally moderate Muslim population.

There have been some reports of Indians going to fight for the group in Iraq and Syria, but the numbers are low relative to the size of the population.

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Last week, police said an IS sympathiser accused in a train explosion that injured 10 people had been killed in a stand-off as they tried to arrest him.

Singh said the nature of any threat remained unclear but police did not want to leave anything to chance.

“Based on the inputs so far, we have beefed up the security and are fully prepared to handle any eventuality,” he said.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • mohammad khan
    Mar 18, 2017 - 2:21AM

    Taj Mahal is the Symbol of Love peace and power of the created. It is the pride of South Asia all South Asian countries India Pakistan Bangladesh Afghan etc should try and protect it . Although mother nature has given India its custodianship but it belongs to all South Asia. Regardless of their political standing these countries should come together in SAARC conferences and bring a resolution to protect Taj Mahal and other monuments for their upkeep and protection from any kind of abuse including other nations trying to copy it they must seek permission first from saarc.Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Mar 18, 2017 - 2:50PM

    These monuments belong to both sides of the sub continent . both sides must try to safeguard our collective history . Recommend

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