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Mysterious fire consumes another shrine
‘It’s a conspiracy’
SRINAGAR, Jul 15: Less than a month after the shrine of  Dastgeer Sahab (RA) was gutted in a mysterious fire, the shrine of a revered Sufi saint, Baba Haneefuddin (RA), was today gutted in a mysterious fire at Ratsuna village of central Kashmir's Budgam district.

The incident caused tension in the area with religious groups smelling rat.

According to deputy commissioner Budgam, Bashir Ahmad, the incident took place last night with fire starting mysteriously at the shrine, damaging it completely.

“Fire erupted mysteriously in the shrine at around 11:30 PM in which the shrine was damaged,” the DC said.

The district administration, however, is clueless about the cause of fire while police has registered a case and the magisterial inquiry is also likely.

“Nothing can be said as yet. It will be too premature to say anything,” the DC said, “For now the police has registered the case for fire, and we will also start a magisterial inquiry into the incident as such incident have been happening in the area before also.”

Reports said that soon after the incident, a complete shutdown was observed in Beerwah town following. The shops and business establishments were closed while the traffic movement in the area also remained affected.

The DC, however, said the situation was peaceful as the people cooperated with the district administration.

 According to eyewitnesses, fire broke out in the 400-year-old shrine around 11:30 PM and engulfed the entire structure. People tried their best to douse the flames, but in vain. By the time fire tenders could reach the spot, the shrine had gutted completely.

 When the word about the burning of shrine spread in the area, scores of people gathered near the shrine this morning, and hold massive protest demonstration.

 A team of religious leaders and scholars, including Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam, Mirwaiz central Kashmir, Moulvi Syed Abdul Lateef Bukhari, representative of World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, Hajj Abdulhussain Moosavi, and chairman of the Mutteheda Ulema Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal-Jamaat (MUASWJ), Ghulam Rasool Hami, reached the spot and pacified the protestors.

 Addressing media persons at Jamia Masjid Beerwa, Mirwaiz Syed Abdul Lateef, termed the incident, third in less than a month, as the handiwork of elements trying to create a sectarian divide in Kashmir.

 He urged the people to maintain sectarian harmony, and cautioned them against playing into the hands of anti-Muslim elements.

 Demanding an independent and time-bound probe into the incident, Mirwaiz Lateef asked the government to install fire protection systems at all the revered Sufi shrines in the state.

 Mutahida Ulema Ahlesunat Jammu Kashmir chairman, Ghulam Rasool Hami, termed the incident as a conspiracy to damage religious places in Kashmir.

 "It is a conspiracy.  They are trying to destroy our religious assets. First they destroyed the shrine at Khanyar now Baba Haneefuddin's shrine. It for the second time that the shrine was damaged,” Hami said.

 Appealing the society to take up the responsibility of protecting religious places, he said the “government’s inability has been exposed.”

 “Every time there is such an incident government calls for a probe, but nothing is done in practice. It has exposed the government,” he said. “We will have to take up the protection of the religious places and we will do it.”

 Hami said the committee for probing the fire incident at Khanyar shrine “is doing its work” and that “we will do the work in other matters also.”
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News Updated at : Monday, July 16, 2012
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