Thirty four international models who are in the country for a supermodel contest visited the Taj Mahal this week. Some of them had wrapped saffron scarves to protect themselves from the heat. When they were about to enter the monument, they were reportedly asked to remove the scarves.
Earlier, reports had suggested that the CISF and ASI officials asked them to do so. But the Culture Ministry has now denied their involvement.
The Superintending Archaeologist, Agra, has confirmed that the persons 'seemingly collecting' the scarves from the tourists aren't associated with the ASI or CISF, a statement by the ministry maintained.
"It appears that these persons could be guides or members of the group of the lady tourists. This angle is being inquired into separately. Local police has also been directed to inquire into this aspect," the ministry said.
There is no restriction on colour, design or inscriptions on the scarf or dress for visiting the 17-century monument, said Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, who had immediately ordered a probe into the incident which evoked protests from some Hindu outfits including the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) which said it hurt religious sentiment.
"You can wear anything, whether it is yellow, red or green. There are no restrictions. The truth will emerge after the probe," said Mr Sharma adding that a tourist guide could have asked them to remove their scarves.
(With inputs from PTI)