Srinagar: Residents of Sajadabad locality in Chattabal quarter of the downtown Srinagar on Saturday foiled an attempt by an unidentified man to set afire a revered shrine aimed apparently at trigging a sectarian divide among two communities.
A masked man lobbed a petrol bomb at Astana Babul Hawaij, a shrine housing a rare manuscript of holy Quran handwritten by Imam Musa Kazim, 7th Imam and great grandson of Prophet of Islam (Pbuh), residents told Kashmir Observer.
The unidentified man, they said hurled the petrol bomb at around 12.45 in the night when most people in the locality were asleep. “However, the bomb exploded in the compound causing no damage to the shrine. A motorbike parked there was damaged, they said. “I woke up after hearing the low intensity blast, said Sajjad Ahmad Wani, an eyewitness who lives adjacent to the shrine. “I saw the man climbing the gate of the shrine after hurling the bomb. But he hastily retreated after I raised an alarm”, Wani said.
“It was a miracle. If the shrine had caught fire, dozens of houses adjacent to it would have been reduced to ashes. And more so, when majority of the people in the locality were asleep,” Wani added.
Another resident, who insisted not to be named, said that it was a sinister design aimed at creating a sectarian divide. He said that the masked man may have carried a recce before executing the attack. “This is a first such incident in our locality when someone tried to fan sectarian divide. We have always had a cordial relationship with members of majority community. We have laughed and cried together in good and bad times,” he added.
This morning, scores of people from the majority community and various social, religious delegations visited the spot and condemned the act.
The delegations expressed solidarity with the people of Chattabal and urged them to stay alert.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary and Senior Superintendent of Police Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal also visited Sajadabad and assured the residents that police will track down the miscreant responsible for the act.
Husyniah Chhatabal preserves a copy of Holy Quran brought from Iran by Syed Haider Sultan Kalandar Maskir in 1267AD; written by Imam Musa (AS). Incidents like this shouldn’t deter the spirit of amity. https://t.co/207tpsffQT
— Shahid Choudhary (@listenshahid) June 6, 2020
The CCTV installed at the shrine, residents said has recorded the whole incident and the footage has been handed over to the police. Police has also registered a case and started investigations.
Pertinently, this was the third attack on a religious place of a particular community in over a month. Earlier in a similar incident Masjid Imam Ali was targeted with a petrol bomb in Bota Kadal locality of Srinagar last month followed by an attack on Al-Zahra Islamic Centre in Habbakadal. Many socio-religious groups have called for extra vigil to ‘defeat the nefarious design’ of anti-Kashmiri people.
Maulana Masroor Condemns Shrine Attack
Meanwhile prominent Shia leader Maulana Masroor Abbas Ansari has strongly condemned the petrol bomb attack on Astana Babul-Hawaij at Sajadabad locality in Chattabal area of old Srinagar by unknown persons.
Babul-Hawaij which houses the manuscript of holy Qur’an handwritten by Imam Musa Kazim, the 7th Shia Imam and the great grandson of Prophet of Islam, was targeted during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday by unknown persons with a petrol bomb. The bomb however caused little damage, residents said.
Condemning the act, Ittehadul Muslimeen president Maulana Masroor called it a vicious attempt to fan the flames of hatred and create a sectarian discord.
In a statement he said that the satisfactory situation in Kashmir valley over the past several years so far as unity & brotherhood is concerned has rattled vested interests and perhaps an agency has been reactivated to disrupt this atmosphere of amity in Kashmir.
“First they attacked a temple, then a mosque at Alipora followed by an attack on Islamic centre at Habbakadal with petrol bombs now they targeted the shrine at Chattabal. So this pattern makes it clear that attempts to divide the people and to sow seeds of discord among the religious communities in Kashmir has already been started”, he alleged.
“These incidents are executed to spread sectarian divisions & to divert the attention of Kashmiris from the real issues”, he said adding JKIM demands that immediate legal action be taken against those involved in this heinous act.
Maulana appealed public to remain cautious & stay united against communal forces in order to expose their nefarious designs.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.