iconimg Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ashiq Hussain, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, October 02, 2012
Jammu and Kashmir police on Tuesday claimed to have solved the arson case of at-least two shrines of the total six incidents of blaze at religious places which took place this year in various parts of Kashmir valley.
Kashmir Inspector General of police SM Sahai told Hindustan Times that they have arrested six members of Lashkar-e-Toiba from the central district of Budgam.

“They have actually confessed in the involvement of Narbal mosque blaze and of Baba Haneefuddin Shrine in Budgam,” Sahai said.

The 300-year-old Sufi Shrine of Baba Haneefudin was gutted in a mysterious fire in mid July this year while in Narbal area of the district a mosque (adjacent to a shrine) suffered minor damage in an alleged attempt of arson in May.

“All the six are locals and one of them had traveled across the border for arms training where he was directed to trigger a 2010-like mass agitation in valley,” Sahai stated.

Kashmir was rattled by a series of arson cases in the months of May, June and July with police unable to crack whether it was accidental or sabotage.

On June 25, Kashmir shut in shock after a mysterious blaze destroyed Dastigeer Sahib Shrine constructed in memory of an 11th century Sufi saint Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Geelani in the heart of old city in Srinagar.

In a spontaneous expression of grief, people protested peacefully for four days amid a highly surcharged atmosphere.

Sahai said that the cause of blaze at Dastigeer Sahib Shrine was still under investigation.

“There is no evidence which would point to the involvement of these six militants in the blaze at Dastigeer sahib shrine,” he said.

The incidents had left people in Kashmir worried amid apprehensions that some ‘elements’ were trying to stoke communal tensions. Cutting across party lines separatists as well as mainstream politicians had condemned the incidents urging people to maintain calm and not to get swayed by rumors.

Hard-line separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani termed the strings of attacks as part of a ‘conspiracy  to create rift among the Muslims to sabotage the ongoing freedom movement in the valley”.