After five days of curfew-like restrictions and shutdown in Kashmir valley, a semblance of normalcy returned Saturday with people peacefully thronging the gutted shrine of 206-year-old Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani and resuming daily chores in other parts of the state.
Most shops, colleges, schools and banks completely reopened in Srinagar after five-day long disturbances in the wake of the shrine fire incident. A number of separatist leaders visited the shrine to pay obeisance there and take stock of the situation.
Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq addressed people at the shrine. Expressing his distress over the incident, the Miwaiz said, "The incident was heart wrenching. People showed tolerance, responsibility and courage in the aftermath of shrine inferno incident."
He reiterated his demand to have an independent and impartial probe in the incident. "Hurriyat does not want to play politics on the sacred shrine incident since it was a religious issue covering the broader collective identity of Kashmiris," he said.
The Mirwaiz asked the government of India to stay away from playing politics over the shrine incident. "Kashmiri people have enough courage, strength and magnanimity to re-build the shrine without taking aid from the outside," he said.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik also visited the shrine. "The attempts to desecrate Quran and mosques is to divide Muslim community in the state. It's being done under a well-though conspiracy. Those behind such acts should be exposed," said Malik.
Meanwhile, National Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh accused the state government of disallowing him to visit the shrine.
Defending the government decision to impose a five-day long restriction in old city in Srinagar, chief minister Omar Abdullah has said, "I make no apologies for the administrative measures used over the last few days in a handful of police stations. The situation demanded it.
"So while I have no hesitation in apologising to people inconvenienced by the restrictions, we did what we had to do to keep the peace," Omar said on social networking site Twitter.
The chief minister alleged that there were people who would have liked to exploit the tragic loss of the shrine, which gutted on June 25.