DHAKA: Clashes broke out between angry protesters and police in the old town of Srinagar following a blaze that gutted one of the most revered shrines in Kashmir.
The Sufi shrine of Hazrat Shaikh Abdula Qadir Jeelani, popularly known as Peer Dastgeer Sahib, in Khanyar in downtown Srinagar, was gutted in a fire this morning.
Officials say, the fire started from the roof top of the shrine at 6:30am soon after people completed morning prayers.
They are still trying to determine the cause, reports NDTV.
Police used tear smoke shells and resorted to lathi charge to disperse the stone pelting mob.
At least 20 people many of them policemen were injured in the clashes. Six fire tenders and one ambulance were also damaged by angry mobs who blamed fire service officials for reaching late.
While the shrine, made of wood, has been completely damaged, officials told NDTV that holy relics and other sacred valuables were retrieved safely.
The four hundred year old shrine of the 11th century saint is the nerve centre of spirituality in Kashmir.
The shrine is equally revered by all faiths and its damage in the fire has caused deep anguish and shock amongst people.
This was evident after women were seen on streets wailing and beating their chests, as they saw fire engulfing the shrine.
BDST: 1624 HRS, JUN 25, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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