Protests in Agra against Queen’s baton


Agra : Agra Mayor Anjula Singh Mahaur and Lok Sabha member Ram Shankar Katheria have announced a boycott of the Queen’s baton for the Commonwealth Games when it arrives here Monday.

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Agra East legislator Jagan Prasad Garg and dozens of voluntary groups have also supported the boycott to protest what they say is injustice done to the Taj city.

The opposition to the function has spread after half a dozen tourism and travel bodies declared they would stay away from the Monday celebration.

“Agra is feeling insulted and cheated. I appeal to the people of Agra to join the boycott,” Katheria from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) told reporters.

He said at least 25 percent of the Commonwealth Games budget should have been spent on developing tourism infrastructure and connectivity with Agra, which lies 200 km south of New Delhi.

Mayor Anjula Singh said she was hurt at the way the first citizen of the Taj city had been ignored.

She said propriety demanded that she should have been the first person to welcome the Queen’s baton but she had not even been officially invited.

District authorities are trying hard to persuade tourism industry leaders to withdraw the boycott call.

But industry spokesman Rajeev Tiwari said Saturday night that the boycott would continue.

But “we will welcome tourists with open arms and warmth and also persuade them to spend the night in Agra to see various other monuments”, he said.