The students, who are from the Central Agricultural University in Imphal, went to the monument on Sunday as part of an all-India educational tour. However, they were stopped by guards who allegedly commented that they "resembled foreigners", reports the Indian Express.
The Taj Mahal offers entry tickets at different prices - Rs 1,000 for foreign visitors and Rs 40 for Indians. The Central Industrial Service Force (CISF) guards believed the students were only posing as Indian nationals to gain entry on cheaper tickets. The students even showed them their ID cards and a letter stating that they were on an all-India tour, but it didn't work.
Some students were later allowed to enter but only after they produced their Aadhar Cards. The remaining made it inside the monument only after the police intervened.
"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, a police officer told the Indian Express.
The Archaeological Survey of India has ordered an inquiry and security staff has been asked to provide CCTV footage as well.
Social media has expressed outrage over the incident.
Not just Manipur students. I was called a Bangladeshi and barred entry to Taj Mahal. One of the reasons I hate that place and Agra.- Shabana (@shabanais) January 10, 2017
I will visit any wonder on earth but will never go back to Taj Mahal. Enough of humiliation. In any case Humayun's Tomb looks better.- Shabana (@shabanais) January 10, 2017
No one's nationality is written on the face. What is wrong if one asked proof of nationality at Taj Mahal?- The Mox (@Mox1t) January 10, 2017
Manipur students 'denied' entry into Taj Mahal, asked for proof of nationality: report- #MGWV #F4F #Follow (@MechanicalBaba) January 10, 2017