Blaze destroys Kashmir’s 206-year-old Dastgeer shrine | india | Hindustan Times
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Blaze destroys Kashmir’s 206-year-old Dastgeer shrine

india Updated: Jun 26, 2012 01:06 IST
HT Correspondent

A suspected short circuit triggered a fire that destroyed one of Kashmir’s most revered shrines, the 206-year-old Peer Dastgeer Sahib, at Khanyar in Srinagar’s old city on Monday. Police did not suspect foul play, but the Jammu and Kashmir government ordered a probe by the divisional commissioner to ascertain the cause of the fire that broke out around 6.15am during prayers and gutted the wooden structure in two hours. The damage to the shrine of the 11th century Islamic preacher, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Geelani, set off protests in which 69 people, including 30 police officials, were injured. Though officials said the holy relics of Sheikh Qadir were saved, tension gripped the old city, posing a worry for the state in peak tourist season. Chief minister Omar Abdullah said the Waqf Board was “committed to rebuilding the shrine” and the “tragedy must not be exploited”. Law minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said, “The digital images of the shrine’s old design are with the Waqf Board and the work will start soon.” Witnesses said the fire started from one of the top minarets of the shrine. Protesters clashed with the police, alleging that fire tenders came late and with insufficient water. Separatists called for a strike on Tuesday over the gutting of the shrine.