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Manipur Students Allegedly Denied Entry Into Taj Mahal Because They 'Looked Like Foreigners'

Racism, yet again?

10/01/2017 8:21 AM IST | Updated 10/01/2017 8:54 AM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Students from North Eastern India during a candle light vigil against racism and the beating and killing of student Nido Taniam at Jantar Mantar, on February 2, 2014 in New Delhi.

In a country that is apparently the land of "Gandhi and Buddha", racism is as much a fact of life as is the culture of its denial. Months after a Manipuri woman, Monika Khangembam, was harassed at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport, and told she doesn't 'look Indian', a similar incident happened yet again.

On Sunday, when a group of students from Manipur had gone to the Taj Mahal as part of an all-India educational tour, they were allegedly stopped by the CISF personnel and asked to produce proof of their nationality, reports Indian Express.

The students who were from the Central Agricultural University in Imphal were barred from entering because they "resembled foreigners".

Like most other sites, at the Taj Mahal too, tickets for foreigners cost Rs 1,000 each. For Indians, it's Rs 40. So, when these Manipur students wanted to enter, the guards allegedly thought that were trying to pass off as Indians so that they could enter with cheaper tickets.

It got worse from there.

Even after they showed their ID cards and a letter that stated that they were on a national tour, the CISF personnel did not relent. He asked for their Aadhaar cards. The complainant has alleged that only the ones who had Aadhaar card were allowed to enter. Later, after the tourism police intervened, the rest of the students were allowed to enter.

"The students alleged that CISF personnel misbehaved with them and that they were asked to show their nationality proof. They then called the tourism police, who reached the spot and intervened to allow the students to enter," RP Pandey, SHO of the Tourism police station, told Indian Express.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Monday has now ordered an inquiry. The security staff has been asked to provide CCTV footage of the main gates of the Taj to verify the allegations.

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