Shutdown in Kashmir post shrine fire

Last Updated: Tue, Jun 26, 2012 11:43 hrs

Situation in Kashmir remained tense on Tuesday as several separatists groups called a one-day strike over the damage caused to a 200-year-old Sufi shrine of Peer Dastageer Sahib in Srinagar on Monday due to a major fire incident.

The strike disrupted normal life in Kashmir as shops, schools, colleges and offices remained closed on Tuesday.

Several separatist groups including Kashmiri nationalist organization Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) called the strike that resulted in very poor attendance of employees in government offices and disrupted transport in the Valley.

Kashmir High Court Bar Association called a one-day strike on Tuesday that hampered works in courts.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who was out of the country, returned on Tuesday in the wake of the violent incidents that occurred in the Valley on Monday.

He visited the shrine and urged people to maintain peace in the state.

"The burning down of our revered shrine Dastgeer Sahib is a tragedy that will take time to sink in. The effort of some to create trouble from this is,however, reprehensible," Abdullah tweeted.

"Waqf board is committed to rebuilding the shrine quickly but right now cooler heads must prevail and the tragedy must not be exploited," he said.

The state government has ordered for an investigation into the matter by Kashmir´s Divisional Commissioner.

A fire broke out in the 200-year-old Sufi shrine of Peer Dastageer Sahib in Srinagar on Monday, triggering violent incidents in Srinagar.

Several fire tenders rushed to tame the blaze at the shrine of Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani popularly known as Shrine of Peer Dastgeer Sahab located in the crowded Khanyar area Srinagar.

Tension erupted in the streets of Srinagar, after the fire gutted the shrine, as mobs pelted stones and police had to resort to tear gas and baton charging.

Above 50 people, including policemen, were injured in the incident on Monday.

The two-century-old shrine, an architectural marvel made mostly of timber with ornate Khantamband and woodwork was visited by scores of people daily.

It is deeply revered by both Muslims and Hindus.

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