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Rediff.com  » News » In PHOTOS: 200-year-old Dastageer Sahib shrine gutted

In PHOTOS: 200-year-old Dastageer Sahib shrine gutted

Last updated on: June 25, 2012 12:17 IST

In PHOTOS: 200-year-old Dastageer Sahib shrine gutted

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

The historic Dastageer Sahib shrine in old Srinagar was gutted in a big blaze early Monday morning.

As per latest reports the fire has now spread to some adjoining homes as well even though fire tenders were battling to control the blaze.

The two-century-old shrine located in the Khanyar locality of Srinagar was an epitome of Kashmir architecture laden with ornate Khatamband ceilings and elaborate carvings with grand chandeliers adorning the main prayer hall.

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Image: The Dastageer Sahib shrine on fire
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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200-year-old Dastageer Sahib shrine gutted

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The shrine contained holy relics of the revered Muslim saint of Bhagdad 'Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani'. The shrine also housed the relics of other Muslim saints.

The shrine is thronged by thousands of people from across the Valley on the annual Urs every year to observe the birth anniversary of the 11th century patron saint, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani.

Not only Muslims, the shrine has been an object of reverence for Kashmiri Pandits also.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie

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200-year-old Dastageer Sahib shrine gutted

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The blaze in the second most revered shrine in Kashmir after Hazratbal is stated to have engulfed the adjacent new structures as well which included a mosque and the under construction additional extensional structure.

The blaze has sent shockwaves across Kashmir Valley and people were seen crying at the scene.

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Image: People mourning the gutting of the shrine
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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200-year-old Dastageer Sahib shrine gutted

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"The shrine was made of wood ... the fire spread quickly and the complex has been gutted," an official said.

The official said the relics of the preacher, known as Ghaus-ul-Azam among the local populace and revered worldwide, are safe as these were retrieved from the fire-proof vault.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known but police is investigating the possibility of sabotage.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie

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200-year-old Dastageer Sahib shrine gutted

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The fire in the shrine triggered protests by locals, sources said.

The sources said a group of protestors started pelting stones at fire tenders for their alleged "slow response" in controlling the fire.The protestors later attacked the nearby Khanyar police station by pelting stones at it.

Policemen fired several rounds of tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors, they said, adding additional police personnel have been deployed in the area to bring the situation under control.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie

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200-year-old Dastageer Sahib shrine gutted

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The sources said curfew-like restrictions have been imposed in Khanyar and surrounding areas to prevent the law and order situation from deteriorating further.

Local residents claimed that police had announced imposition of curfew in the area but a police spokesman denied the allegation. "Curfew has not been imposed anywhere in the city," he said.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie

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