The Uttar Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has left the Taj Mahal out of its heritage budget, leading to accusations from many quarters that he was linking heritage to religion.
The sentiments have run high especially on social media, where the right-wing and controversial BJP leader has been slammed for the move.
However, in most cases, one key aspect of the entire matter seems to have been either not mentioned or entirely forgotten: The UP government is not responsible for the Taj Mahal and its upkeep.
Anger against UP CM
Yogi Adityanath, it may be mentioned, has already expressed his distaste for the Taj Mahal — a monument that most people outside India identify the country by.
The UP chief minister had on one occasion even said about the 17th-century mausoleum: "Taj Mahal and other such monuments do not reflect Indian Culture."
Now, according to a Hindustan Times report: "The [Uttar Pradesh] annual budget for 2017-2018 makes no mention of Taj Mahal in the special section 'Hamari Sanskritik Virasat' (Our Cultural Heritage) incorporated in the finance minister's 63-page speech."
The report has led to massive outrage against Adityanath, with many on social media accusing him of connecting religion to politics and administration, and also starving it of funds when it needs protection the most.
Taj Mahal upkeep issue
However, what many seem to be unaware of, or are simply ignoring, is that the the UP government is not responsible for the upkeep of the Unesco World Heritage Site. That responsibility falls on the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
According to the ASI official website, the organisation, "under the provisions of the AMASR [Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains] Act, 1958, protects monuments, sites and remains of national importance by giving a two-month's notice for inviting objections, if any in this regard."
Add to that the fact that governments before the one led by Adityanath had also not been responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Taj Mahal, and the anger of social media users seems quite unfounded.