Waqaf to equip shrines with modern firefighting gadgetry’

Srinagar: With mysterious fires off and on damaging Kashmir’s revered Sufi shrines, the Muslim Wakf Board has decided to install modern fire fighting machinery in prominent shrines in the valley.

One of the officials of Waqaf board told KNS that fire extinguishers were put in place in all shrines keeping in view various security factors in the valley. “Modern fire fighting and preventing systems have been installed in 11 major shrines in the Valley in view of the mysterious fires erupting in reverend shrines,” the official said.

The installation of fire preventive system at all the shrines taken place following the fire gutted the several prominent shrines in the valley for last some years.

In 2012, the 200-year-old shrine of Dastageer Sahib (RA) at Khanyar here was gutted in a major fire.

Soon after, the Wakf Board identified several major shrines including Makhdoom Sahib (RA), Assar-i-Sharief Hazratbal, Shehri Kailashpora, Syed Yaqoob Sahib (RA) Sonwar, Drugjan Mosque, and Khankah-e-Moulla where CCTV cameras were to be installed.

The official said that the Jammu and Kashmir Wakf Board has already begun installing CCTV cameras in shrines across the valley.

He said that CCTVs have been installed in the shrines for security management and watch and ward of the shrines.

Official sources in security establishment said that the government has been alerted about installing CCTVs and fire preventing measures after inputs about miscreants trying to cause fires in shrines to create unrest and social divide.

Last year in November, a nocturnal blaze reportedly caused by lightening damaged spire of the Kashmir’s holiest Muslim shrines, the “Khanqah-e-Moula”, in Downtown Srinagar.

Timely alertness of fire tenders and locals prevent any major damage to the shrine. Built in memory of renowned Muslim saint, scholar and preacher Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, the shrine mosque is highly revered as it stands out in reverence to the saint whose teachings helped spread Islam in the valley. Kashmiris reverently call Mir Syed Ali Hamadani “Amir-e-Kabeer” (Great Commander) and “Shah-e-Hamadan” (King of Hamadan). He was born in Hamadan, Persia, in 1314 and breathed his last in 1384.

In June 2012, Kashmir valley witnessed unrest and severe curfew-like situations after a mysterious fire devastated the 245-year-old shrine of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani in Khanyar. The fire provoked protests and the Valley witnessed unrest for weeks.

A revered shrine of Peer Sheikh Sayeed Abdul Qadir Jeelani was damaged in a devastated fire.

The then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah led government has called for conducting fire safety audit of the entire major heritage Sufi shrines in the valley.

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