Ownership of Taj Mahal Disputed

July 13, 2005

Source: Yahoo! News

Wire Service: AP/Reuters


On July 13, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "An Islamic trust claimed ownership Wednesday of the Taj Mahal and demanded a slice of tourist revenue from the 17th-century monument to love, but the government-run group charged with its upkeep vowed to challenge that claim in court. The white-marble monument — built by Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan between 1632 and 1654 for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal — should be officially recognized as belonging to the Sunni Waqf Board, said its chairman, Hafiz Usman... The Sunni Waqf Board is in charge of maintaining Muslim graveyards and mosques. The Taj Mahal houses the graves of the love-struck emperor, his wife and lesser royalty. 'Apart from the graves, the presence of a mosque and a tomb in the Taj complex clearly signal that it is truly a Waqf (religious trust) property,' Usman said. 'However, the federal or the state government can take care of its maintenance.' The government-run Archaeological Survey of India, which has been responsible for the upkeep of the monument since 1920, said it would challenge the board's claim in court."