Shrine blaze triggers tension in Srinagar (Lead)

June 25th, 2012 - 12:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, June 25 (IANS) Tension gripped this Jammu and Kashmir summer capital Monday following a blaze that gutted the revered Peer Dastageer Sahib shrine, police said.

Stone pelting mobs clashed with the security forces in parts of the old city, prompting the authorities to increase security in the entire capital city.

Three people were injured in the stone pelting. Traffic in the old city has been diverted after the mob violence, a senior police officer said. Police used tear smoke and resorted to repeated baton charges to disperse the mobs.

The mobs also pelted stones at a police station in Khanyar, where the shrine of Peer Dastageer Sahib is located.

Senior police officers, along with reinforcements, also reached the Khanyar locality.

“A fire broke out inside the Peer Dastgeer Sahib shrine around 6.30 a.m. today (Monday),” a senior fire brigade officer told IANS.

Firetenders rushed to the spot immediately after the fire was noticed at the two-century-old shrine, an architectural marvel mostly of timber with ornate Khantamband and woodwork.

The shrine had many antique chandeliers which adorned the centre of the big hall, where people visiting the shrine would pray.

An adjacent under construction structure was also damaged in the blaze, which reportedly has been brought under control.

Reverence for the 11th century saint in Kashmir cuts across religious barriers. While Muslims call the saint Ghaus-e-Azam, the Hindus revere the saint as Kahnoow.

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