Historical Srinagar shrine gutted in blaze
Peer Dastgeer Sahib shrine in summer capital Srinagar was gutted
in a blaze here Monday morning although the authorities said all
the relics of the 11th century saint were safe. A senior officer
of the local fire
restrictions continued in the old city areas of Srinagar for the
fourth consecutive day Friday in the wake of tension after fire
gutted the revered shrine of Muslim saint Sheikh Abdul Qadir
Jeelani in the Khanyar area.
Contingents of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police
Force (CRPF) were seen patrolling Nowhatta, M.R. Gunj, Rainawari,
Khanyar, Safakadal and Kralkhud areas in the old city. The
movement of pedestrians and vehicles was also restricted in these
In uptown areas of Chanapora, Nowgam, Barzalla and Bypass Road,
troopers in riot gear have been deployed to maintain law and order
and also to ensure smooth movement of Amarnath-bound pilgrims
along the Bypass Road.
The cause behind the fire is yet to be ascertained. A
superintending engineer of the power department has reportedly
said that the power supply to the shrine was on when the blaze
This is in contrast to an earlier statement by the custodian of
the shrine's relics, Syed Abdul Khalid Geelani, who said that
there was no electricity in the shrine when the fire broke out
around 6.30 a.m. Monday.
The state government's proposal for an impartial inquiry into the
fire has been rejected by separatist as well as religious leaders.
Rejecting any government probe, Kashmir's grand Mufti, Mufti
Bashir-ud-Din, and Maulana Ghulam Rasool Hami, both of whom are
seen as pro-government clerics, have asked for an independent
inquiry into the blaze that gutted the shrine of the saint, known
popularly as Peer Dastgeer by Muslims and Kahnoow by Kashmiri
The grand Mufti of Kashmir appealed to the people to march to
Khanyar Friday to express their love and reverence for the saint.
On micro-blogging site Twitter, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah
recently said, "I am sorry but will someone please ask him (Mufti
Bashir-ud-Din) how my government stands to benefit from destroying
Replying to the criticism of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the
moderate Hurriyat group, who asked for lifting the restrictions in
the old city areas, the chief minister tweeted, "Why don't you
blame the stone-pelters? If I was (sic) so keen to (sic) 'curfew
you', I'd have done it without the stone throwing."