Trying to find out cause of fire at shrine: Kashmir home minister | india | Hindustan Times
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Trying to find out cause of fire at shrine: Kashmir home minister

india Updated: Jun 27, 2012 19:44 IST
Peerzada Ashiq
Peerzada Ashiq
Hindustan Times
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The state government has decided to look into all aspect, including sabotage, in the fire incident that engulfed the shrine of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani on Monday morning in Srinagar.

"We will look into every aspect, whatsoever, to know the cause of fire. Let the inquiry committee complete its investigations. People need to be patient," state home minister Nasir Aslam Wani told the Hindustan Times.

The mystery around the fire incident has deepened after caretaker Syed Khalid Jeelani claimed that the spot where fire emerged first had no power supply in the morning that day.

"I am one hundred percent sure that power supply was cut to all the spires and domes at the main supply line. Due to the ongoing construction work next to the shrine, power supply is on for only two hours between 8 pm and 10 pm. There is no routine of switching on power supply in the morning," Jeelani told the Hindustan Times.

The fire had started immediately after morning prayers at around 6:15 and, in just two hours, the fire razed the shrine to ground completely damaging the wooden structure.

"I was blank when fire occurred and my focus was to save relics. I fail to understand how the entire structure gutted so fast. Water tankers were also slow," said Jeelani, who displayed the relics on Wednesday to assure the people that they are safe.

The state government constituted inquiry committee, headed by divisional commissioner Asghar Samoon, has failed so far to collect basic information to establish the sequence of events. Even the caretakers were not been approached for their deposition so far.

"I was not approached by the divisional commissioner for any inquiry till Wednesday," said Jeelani, who was eyewitness to the whole event and secured the safety of the relics when the fire started around 6.15 am on Monday at the 245 year-old shrine.

Samoon snapped the calls made from the HT office for his comment on the status of inquiry.

The mystery has deepened further by a series of picture making rounds on the social networking sites showing fire emerging from multiple points simultaneously. The officials are neither confirming nor denying the veracity of the pictures.

"We cannot prejudge things. Wait is the word," said state home minister.

The police, as part of routine investigations, have taken samples from the site to establish the material that caused fire. Sources said the samples would be sent to the forensic science lab in Srinagar for tests.

Police have also cordoned off the sanctum sanctorum and people are not allowed to visit the shrine.

The devastating fire incident has sent a shock wave across the valley with people mourning the loss for third consecutive day on Wednesday. The shrine would attract thousands of devotees every year.