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Muslim charity claims Taj Mahal ownership

AGRA, India, March 15 (UPI) -- An Indian Muslim charity is claiming ownership of the Taj Mahal because the world-famous monument to love is also home to several Muslim graves.

The Sunni Waqf Board, a Muslim trust, says that because the Indian government gave it the right of ownership to all Muslim graveyards located in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, the Taj Mahal falls under its jurisdiction, the BBC reported Monday.

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The charity has issued notices to the Archaeological Survey of India as well as the central government, seeking their reply to its demand by the end of March.

Trust chairman Hafiz Usman said that the presence of a mosque and a tomb within the complex clearly brings it under its jurisdiction.

Once the ownership issue has been decided, Usman said, the charity would demand 7 percent of total earnings from ticket sales.

The monument was built by the 17th-century Mogul emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his wife, Mumtaz. Located in the city of Agra, it has become one of India's major tourist sites.

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